From isolation and disconnection to community ‘Disability Champion’ and business owner: Sengo’s success story
In 2019, Sengo arrived in Australia as a refugee from Congo in East Africa. As he had a disability and spoke limited English, he experienced feelings of isolation and detachment. Despite these challenges, Sengo persevered and has not only become an engaged and respected member of the community, but has even started his own successful business!
What a difference 12 months can make
Initially, Sengo really struggled with his daily living needs, and felt alone with no social connections whatsoever. Due to the physical limitations resulting from his disability, public transport was too difficult for Sengo, preventing him from accessing the community and further fuelling his isolation. This was compounded by rain, hot and cold weather, language barriers, and a lack of mobility aids.
Six months after his arrival, Sengo was able to explore National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) supports through Relationships Australia. He then managed to secure transport assistance, enabling him to start discovering his local area and meet people within the community.
With his friendly, outgoing nature, Sengo was making friends and learning about his new homeland beyond the basic knowledge he had on arrival. After around 12 months, he felt settled, a sense of belonging, and truly connected to his local community in Adelaide.
Support for Sengo
Sengo currently has an NDIS plan, receiving a wide range of support including assistance with daily living activities, therapeutic services, and access to assistive technologies. These supports have greatly improved Sengo’s quality of life, enabling him to actively participate in his community and establish strong connections.
Sengo’s Feros Care Local Area Coordinators (LACs) assist him in making informed decisions to ensure the support he receives is tailored to his needs and goals. LACs, Andrew K and Sandy W, have played a crucial role in Sengo’s journey by undertaking one-on-one sessions. Through these, Sengo has gained a deeper understanding of the NDIS and has learned where to seek help when needed. The guidance and knowledge imparted by Feros Care LACs has been invaluable to him.
Sengo is immensely grateful for the support he has received from Feros Care and has expressed his appreciation by saying, “I feel valued.” He further explained, “My association with Feros Care has not only made me feel respected within my community as a person with a disability, but also empowered me to become the ‘Disability Champion’ within my community.”
We’re proud to say that this newfound confidence has been nurtured during his relationship with Feros Care and the ongoing assistance he has received from our LACs.
Becoming a Community Connector
Sengo has now become a Community Connector, where he actively educates others in his community about disability and the assistance available through NDIS. As a leader, he regularly invites his community members to attend information sessions, where he answers questions and guides those who require assistance in this area. He actively participates in events, raising awareness and advocating for the cause.
NDIS funding prompts a positive move
Sengo has successfully established Mussa’s Mobile Barber, his own thriving business venture. He delivers barber services to adults and children, particularly those with a disability who may not feel comfortable going to a regular barber. Due to his own disability, he is uniquely placed to understand the challenges of these clients.
Thanks to the invaluable NDIS supports he receives, Sengo has become more independent. The support has empowered him to pursue his entrepreneurial dreams and helped him to earn the trust of parents with children who have disabilities.
When asked what having his own business means to him, Sengo said, “When I arrived in Australia, my main goal was to do something people can respect me for – and now I’ve achieved that!”
Designing a more inclusive workplace
Feros Care has developed several co-design local working groups, where participants work together to build more inclusive and connected communities. Sengo was honoured to be part of our South Australia co-design working group, together with Feros Care staff, community members with lived experience in disability, and a retail employer. Working collaboratively, the group created an Employer Tip Sheet for the Retail Industry, to guide employers in understanding the relevant barriers and challenges for people with a disability, and to facilitate a more inclusive employment environment.
Sengo’s story is a testament to the positive impact of NDIS support and Feros Care services. His journey serves as an inspiration to others facing similar challenges, highlighting the potential for growth, empowerment, and community engagement that can be achieved through the NDIS.
At Feros Care, we’re proud to help people with disability live healthy, fulfilled and connected lives. Click here to find out more about how we support people like Sengo throughout our LAC office locations.