Riki Domagalski

I have a vision impairment due to a birth injury. I attended a regular school where I completed VCE. Moving to adulthood, I faced many challenges in getting paid employment despite having years of experience through volunteering with Grit Media (a disability organisation that produced No Limits on C31) and Admin and  Peer Support work at Yooralla.

I have been involved with Social Impact, and After Hours a dating program for people with disabilities as a mentor to other participants, also, Women with Disability Victoria, Australians for Disability Diversity Employment (ADDE), Vision Australia, and was on the State Advisory Committee of Blind Citizens Australia (BCA) among other organisations. I have worked with Hume Metro Access as part of the Hume Disability Issues Group, (HDIG) and been a Social Media Officer at Australian Unemployed Workers Union where they increase publicity of the need of employment through rallies, conferences media. I don’t do a lot of the voluntary work I used to due to a lack of funding. A lot of the organisations were not viable and closed because of a decrease in funding.

To increase my employ-ability, I have completed the Leadership Plus program at RMIT and the Diploma of Community Development. The diploma was an opportunity to extend my knowledge about disability employment in Australia and hopefully contribute in making healthy changes in this area. I recently completed a mentoring program with BCA (Blind Citizens Australia) and they’re going to appoint me with a mentee. I do regular speeches with Toastmasters and they help me with leadership skills.

Through the NDIS and Merri Health I am doing cooking on Mondays, a Healthy Steps programme on Wednesdays, Yoga on Thursdays. I have a cleaner once a fortnight and the alternate week I see a social worker. I have moved out of home and am living independently, I struggle financially because I don’t have paid employment. I am using CVGT who are helping me job search to get into paid employment. My NDIS programs, job searching, and home duties keep me very busy.

I go to the football every weekend. I barrack for Carlton and my partner Michael barracks for the Western Bulldogs. We support Carlton and the Bulldogs together but when they play against each other it’s not a good day.

I practice mindfulness and self-care for my mental health through meditation, crystals, reiki, yoga, aromatherapy, salt lamps. I find it very beneficial and helpful to keep me well balanced. It keeps me calm and self-paced, with having anxiety and depression. It keeps me grounded and empowers me to believe I have more control in my life. When people say they don’t have time for self-care and healing , the truth is you don’t have the time not to because when you’re going thousands of  miles an hour that’s when you do make mistakes and when you spend more time sorting out the mess and the mistakes you have made instead of doing things in a lower more composed way without making the mistakes you end up achieving more.

My presentations raise awareness about the numerous challenges faced by people with disability throughout their life whether it is education, employment,  poverty, mental health, public transport, independent living or simply being able to access and participate in the community.

For more information about Riki please contact Speakers Bank’s Project Officer on 03 9314 0988 or speakersbank@annecto.org.au

Watch Riki’s video: