The International Day of People with Disability (IDPwD) was celebrated live on Sunday 6 December at Progress Park Community Centre in Auburn bringing together a diverse group of people with disability, their carers, family members and service providers listening to experts in the field with the theme ‘Not all disabilities are visible’ with live entertainment and sumptuous lunch organised by Seena Incorporated and sponsored by a number of community organisations.

Ms Julia Finn addressing the guests at the event.

Seena Incorporated, publishers of AMUST is a registered non-profit volunteer based association with the following broader objectives:

  • Render social services to the community at large;
  • Develop webmedia skills amongst people with disability; women and people from diverse backgrounds;
  • Establish multimedia enterprises for the expression of ideas.

The speakers at the event included:

  1. Mr Nasim Zereka, MC, Seena Inc, School Teacher, Community Volunteer
  2. Mrs Mehar Ahmad, President, Seena Inc
  3. Dr Samiha Makkouk Al-Dhaibi, Project officer, Uniting church LAC
  4. Ms Julia Finn MP, Member for Granville
  5. Mr Zia Ahmad, Editor-In-Chief, AMUST
  6. Mr Ziyad Serhan, CEO, Cofounder & Principal Instructor – educAID Au
  7. Ms Raian Hoblos, Ambassador for Deaf community
  8. Mr Philip Feinstein, Music for Refugees
  9. Ms Sakinah Ahmad , Secretary, Seena Inc

Zaffet Afraah Drummers team with Zia Ahmad and Nasim Zereka.

The event was sponsored by Zaffet Afraah Drummers, Auburn Sports Club and Rahma Islamic Association of Australia who hosted the lunch.

Dr Wali Bokhari.

The program was started by the MC Mr Nasim Zereka welcoming the guests followed by recitation of Quran by Dr Wali Bokhari.

Mrs Mehar Ahmad, President of Seena Inc.

President of Seena Inc, Mrs Mehar Ahmad, with the help of an audio-visual presentation highlighted the purpose, diverse activities and achievements of Seena while thanking various stakeholders for their enthusiastic collaboraion in holding this event live face to face in spite of COVID-19 restrictions.

Dr Samiha Makkouk Al-Dhaibi

Dr Samiha Makkouk Al-Dhaibi an expert in the management of non-profit organisations talked about best practice in serving people with disability.

Mr Ziyad Sirhan.

Mr Ziyad Sirhan gave a comprehensive presentation on the theme ‘Not all Disabilities are Visible: Broadening the Conversation’ defining disability, stigma attached to it and its various perspectives impacting our living.

Ms Julia Finn MP.

Ms Julia Finn MP commended Seena Inc for holding this unique event inspite of COVID-19 restrictions and celebrating the UN Day with a dicerse group of people and their families.

Mr Zia Ahmad.

Mr Zia Ahmad made a formal introduction of Nasim Zereka that was highly inspiring:

Nasim has been in Australia for 20 years and it was here and then that he discovered that, he had a combination of hearing and vision impairment (usher syndrome). He was determined from a young age to set goals and to achieve them, to prove to himself and everyone around him that, it is possible for a person with additional needs to aim high and reach success.

Nasim’s passion to make a positive difference in young children’s lives had led him to complete his Masters of Teaching degree (primary) in 2010 and since then he taught at 3 public schools in his local community. In 2017, Nasim decided to join NDIS as a disability support worker. He was passionate to support young children and adults with disabilities to get access to the local community and supported them to achieve goals set by them.

Nasim believes in giving back to the community and has volunteered to a few organisations such as;
– Mission of Hope (in a volunteer and executive member until early 2020)
– Penny Appeal Team Orange Sydney since 2018,
– the Rahma Islamic Association of Australia since 2014
– Seena since 2019

Last year he learnt and heard about Seena, an organisation that believes in moving towards an inclusive society and giving a platform to people with disabilities to connect and reach their potentials. He went to their annual celebration “International Day of People with Disability” and decided to join the committee and work closely with Its founder, Mehar Ahmed to organise the 2020 event.

Mr Nasim Zereka.

Nasim began his speech by stating that this is his first time he speaks about the topic of disability in public . That it is an important topic for him and a close one to his heart . He said that he didn’t prepare a speech because he is a strong believer that words from the heart will reach the hearts.
There are people who are born with a disability and there are some who got a disability after an accident or an injury. The important message that he wished to share was that the person comes before the disability . The person is more important and should be acknowledged as a whole before the disability.
He mentioned that he was born with hearing impairment but didn’t get properly tested till late 2000 when he came to Australia. He knows that if he stayed in Lebanon that it would have been difficult to purchase hearing aids if not  impossible. Becoming a teacher taught him that he needs to focus and build a future generation that are inclusive, understanding and supportive of everybody around them.
One of his biggest achievements as a teacher was encouraging a little girl with hearing impairment accept an offer in hearing support class . He found out later that she became the school captain at her school.
People with disability don’t need constant reminders about their condition and disability, we know what we have . What we need reminders about is what we can achieve , we need understanding , we need care and we need love .
If you know someone with disability reach out to them , support them , include them and believe in them . They have goals and dreams . Be there for them, give them that push and watch them strive for success.
“I would like to acknowledge my mother who has always been my rock . She believed in me when many gave up on me . She was there from day one . She always supported me and reminded me that I can be anything I wanted to be . Today I would like to acknowledge my super woman,” Naseem concluded.

Ms Raian Hoblos an Ambassador for Deaf community and a regular attendee of Seena events talked about her advocacy work in the community and thanked the organisers for the initiative inspite of the pandemic

Mr Philip Fienstein from Music for Refugees and a regular columnist for AMUST entertained the audience while offering free musical instruments to anybody that were interested in Music.

Ms Sakinah Ahmad presented the vote of thanks to all attendees, organisers and sponsors for their enthusiastic collaboration.


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