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 the Australian Unemployed Workers Union where they increase publicity of the need for 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 employability, 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 to making healthy changes in this area. I have 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, Art, and Yoga on Thursdays, doing jigsaw on Tuesdays and Fridays. I previously did a Healthy Steps program on Wednesdays. I have a cleaner once a week and I see a support worker twice a week through Mable, and have a social worker and psychologist. I have moved out of home and am living independently.

I struggle financially because I don’t have paid employment. I am at Jigsaw where I am currently an unpaid trainee for the start. Being an unpaid trainee, I developed 20 employability competencies for the start. Once those 20 employability competencies are on competent level, you become a paid trainee at full award wage. Once you are a paid trainee, they will assist you in gaining open employment at full award wage. Once you become a paid trainee they will help you see open employment at full award wage. My NDIS programs, job searching, and home duties keep me very busy.

In August  2021 I joined GROW, an organisation that is very much into mental health, self-care, mentoring, and peer support. 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 disabilities 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 Program Coordinator on 03 9687 7066 or speakersbank@annecto.org.au

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