Hither & Yon

Hither & Yon means ‘here and over there’, it celebrates the rolling nature of our region and their easy going nature.

The Leask family has been growing grapes and making wine for Australian wine brands for over 40 years. Their aim is to be at the forefront of new generation producers in McLaren Vale and they strongly support the sustainable and natural food and wine movement in Australia.

Hither & Yon have supported Motivation Australia’s fundraising events by donating wine as well as hosting our 10th Anniversary Birthday celebrations!

Fiji follow up

Katrina McGrath from Motivation Australia (MA) traveled to Fiji in February this year. During her visit she accompanied Spinal Injuries Association (SIA) Mobility Device Service (MDS) personnel on follow up visits to six clients (four men, two women).

These clients had received a wheelchair either through the SIA, Colonial War Memorial (CWM) Hospital or the National Rehabilitation Hospital (NRH), with the SIA MDS responsible for ongoing follow-up. Interviews with these clients provided an opportunity to monitor and evaluate wheelchair services in Fiji, which assist MA and our partners to understand the issues being faced by clients, better support the users of MDS services, and strengthen wheelchair services in Fiji.

Follow-up visits are a crucial part of mobility device service provision. Follow-up visits allow for new prescriptions, wheelchair modifications / repairs and user training, all of which can have a significant impact on the function and comfort of users. The follow-ups also provide an opportunity for service providers to better understand the challenges facing wheelchair users and to learn more about the outcomes, good and bad, associated with mobility device provision.

During one of the follow-up visits Katrina met Ruci. Ruci is a 46 year old female who lost her right leg due to diabetic complications. At the time of her amputation Ruci was provided with a pair of crutches. Ruci found the crutches hard to use and was unable to complete all the activities she needed to do around her home. Ruci was also experiencing a lot of pain in her shoulders and left knee. These issues were discussed with personnel from the SIA during a follow up visit to Ruci to and led to her being prescribed and fitted with a wheelchair.

Ruci spends her days completing chores around the house and making Salu Salu’s for her husband to sell at the market. She finds it much easier to do these tasks with the wheelchair. When asked what was the most significant change for her since receiving the wheelchair she said that “before the wheelchair I always had pain in my knee and under my arms, but now with the wheelchair there is no pain and I can do chores in the house”. Ruci also uses her wheelchair to go out into the community. However due to some steep stairs in her yard she requires assistance to carry her wheelchair, whilst she uses her crutches to traverse the steep, high steps. She is happy with this method and there is usually some one around to help. Ruci is very happy with her wheelchair and could not think of anything she would like to change with it, or any thing she would like to be able to do that she can’t currently do.

It was the follow-up visit by the SIA that highlighted the issues that Ruci was having with her crutches. This visit gave her the opportunity to request and be assessed for a wheelchair, thus making her life much easier. Ruci’s story highlights the importance of follow-up visits in assuring that a client’s device continues to be appropriate for them.

MA would like to thank SIA personnel for their assistance in organising and carrying out these follow-up visits. As well as thanking the wheelchair users visited for sharing their stories with us.

High Risk Foot Management in the Pacific

Katrina McGrath from Motivation Australia (MA) joined volunteers from the International Society of Prosthetics and Orthotics (ISPO) Australian National Member Society Outreach Committee (ISPO Outreach) in presenting a 3 day Instructional Course for High Risk Foot Management in the Pacific. The course provided an introduction to the management of diabetic foot ulcers with a focus on offloading including: theory sessions, demonstrations and hands on practical sessions.

I-Kiribati nursing personnel, physiotherapists and Prosthetist Orthotists where joined at the training by Tonga and Samoa’s only Podiatrists, Katrina Palu and Helene Stehlin. Training participants really enjoyed practicing their assessment and offloading skills on each other.
3 staff learn how to apply a total contact cast on a training participants foot.

This training is the first of three training inputs planned for Motivation Australia’s Kiribati Amputation Prevention Project (KAP) this year. The second training scheduled for April will coincide with the establishment of a Diabetic Foot Clinic (DFC) within Kiribati’s Tungaru Central Hospital (TCH).

The MA team would like to thank everyone who participated for their time and contributions. Special thanks go to TCH management who assisted in the planning for the DFC and the Tungaru Rehabilitation Service (TRS) for hosting the training. Further thanks go to ISPO ANMS for their assistance in organising, delivering and sourcing funding for the Instructional Course and for facilitating the attendance of the Pacific Podiatrists.



FSM: Assistive technology project

Motivation Australia is pleased to announce the beginning of a new project with partners in the Federated States of Micronesia’s (FSM) Department of Health and Social Affairs (DHSA) to:

  • Analyse the current system of Assistive Technology (AT) service provision in FSM
  • Develop a plan for improving quality and reach of assistive device service provision in FSM

The project is being funded by the Western Pacific Regional Office (WPRO) of the World Health Organisation (WHO).

For more information about the project, you can download the project summary or contact Kylie Mines.

Vanuatu suppor visit

Katrina from Motivation Australia (MA) visited Vanuatu in January to provide mentoring and support in the provision of wheelchair services to service partners at Vanuatu Society of Persons with Disabilities (VSPD), Ministry of Health (MOH), Ministry of Justice and Community Services (MOJCS).

The trip was a great opportunity to catch up with our partners and see the work being done by our local partners. The trip provided an opportunity to accompany VSPD Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) field workers on follow-up visits within the community, to review and provide mentoring and support. All members of the CBR team were involved in our Basic Level Wheelchair Service Training (WSTP-B) in July 2016.

Dulcie (left) and Timothy (above) were both seen during these follow-up visits. The VSPD CBR team provided both of their wheelchairs after the completion of the WSTP-B training. Both wheelchairs were appropriate for the user and their environment. It was great to see them team implementing the training in such a positive way.

MA would like to thank all of our partners in Vanuatu for making themselves available during this visit. Particular thanks to VSPD management and field workers for helping to coordinate visits into the community to meet with VSPD wheelchair clients.


Wheelchair training in The Solomon Islands

From 26th January – 14th February 2017 Ray Mines and Lauren Flaherty were in Honiara (The Solomon Islands) delivering the Intermediate level, WHO Wheelchair Service Training (WSTP-I) for fourteen trainees from three countries. The young girl pictured above was one of 16 people (8 women or girls, and 8 boys) with disabilities who participated by being assessed and fitted with a wheelchair during the training. The majority of wheelchair users were children with cerebral palsy who required extra postural support in their wheelchairs.

Hilda cropped square 390x390pxThe focus of this training was to support the two national trainers to deliver WSTP-I for the first time, following their Training of Trainers (ToT) course in Bangkok. The 14 trainees came from a range of local organisations in the region, including personnel from The Solomon Islands’ CBR Unit and Physiotherapy Department; Fiji’s Frank Hilton Organisation (FHO); Vanuatu’s Vila Central Hospital (VCH), and; Vanuatu Society for People with Disability (VSPD). The training covered all aspects of wheelchair service provision from referral through to follow-up in the community, as well as the assembly of Wheelchairs for Kids and Motivation (UK) wheelchairs.

We would like to thank the following organisations for providing the financial support which made this training possible: Solomon Islands Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS); the Australian Government (DFAT); LDS Church Charities; Management Sciences for Health’s Leadership, Management and Governance Project (funded by United States Aid for International Development). Thank you also to Wheelchairs for Kids for donating products to the CBR Unit for use during and after the training.

The visit also provided an opportunity to progress activities for the Pacific Mobility Device Service (MDS) Project, including supporting the CBR Unit to review the status of the Prosthetics and Orthotics scholarship applications, data collection  and plans to renovate the rehabilitation building.


Training participants group photo

Welcome to the new SIA Executive Officer

Motivation Australia warmly welcomes Mere Roden into the position of Executive Officer of our partners, the Spinal Injuries Association (SIA). Joshco Wakaniyasi, Executive Director since 2008 is taking a well-earned break; having led the SIA through a solid period of growth and consolidation.

Mere takes over the reins with a strong knowledge of the SIA and the organisation’s activities, having participated in the SIA in a number of roles over many years including as a member, Board Member and Project Manager.

This month, our CEO spent time with both Joshco and Mere discussing our continued support of the SIA’s Mobility Device Service. This is one of the major activities of the SIA, and is a valuable service for people in the Central District of Fiji and beyond. Our discussions included how we can help the SIA to make their service increasingly sustainable into the future.

MA and the SIA also meet with the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Health and Medical Services to discuss plans to provide training for physiotherapist and hospital technicians in wheelchair service delivery, scheduled for later this year.

Kylie Mines

Kylie qualified as an Occupational Therapist in Adelaide, in 1989, and has always had a strong interest in wheelchair provision and supportive seating. Kylie began working in international development in Lithuania in 1991; and joined the Motivation Charitable Trust in 1993 to establish a national wheelchair service network in Cambodia. That first project with Motivation led to seven years of programme work, living and working in Cambodia, Russia, Lithuania, Albania, Romania, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

In 2000 Kylie returned to live in South Australia to start a family – however was unwilling to sever the links with Motivation and international development. After working as a short term consultant for the Motivation Charitable Trust on a range of projects; Kylie founded Motivation Australia in 2007.

As well as building Motivation Australia, Kylie has worked as a consultant for the World Health Organisation (WHO). Through this work she contributed to the development of the WHO Guidelines on the Provision of Manual Wheelchairs in Less Resourced Settings, and is the co-editor of the WHO Wheelchair Service Training Package (Basic and Intermediate modules).

Role: Kylie is Motivation Australia’s CEO, and also holds a position on the Board of Governors. Kylie is responsible for overall direction and approach; developing partnerships; and inputs into programmes with a focus on training and education tools; policy development; monitoring and evaluation.

What do you enjoy about working with Motivation Australia? Through Motivation Australia I have been able to continue working in a sector that I feel incredibly passionate about – and build a team of people who are just as keen as I am to see people who need an appropriate mobility device get one. I love that my work is now taking me to countries that are in my ‘home’ Region. I love working alongside our neighbours in the Pacific; and am learning all the time.

Connect with Kylie on LinkedIn.

Ray Mines

Ray is an Industrial Designer and Project Manager who has been working in developing countries since joining Motivation in the UK in 1996. He has designed, built, adapted and fitted wheelchairs and seating systems, as well as delivered training and capacity building in a wide range of cross cultural situations. To date he has undertaken assignments in more than thirty countries in Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa and the Pacific including remote communities in Australia. Ray has a BSc Industrial Design (Hons) Degree from Brunel University, UK (1990-94) and a Kepner – Tregoe Project Management Certificate (2001).

Role: As Director of Design & Innovation, Ray delivers product design, visual communication & brand image, strategic planning, programme design, training development & delivery, staff mentoring and in-country capacity building. Ray is the Project Manager for two of Motivation Australia’s programmes: the Samoa Integrated Mobility Device Service (SIMDES) project and the Regional Amputation Prevention (RAP) project

What do you enjoy about working with Motivation Australia? What I personally value about what we do is the inspiring people that we meet; I carry their incredible stories with me. I see our work supporting people with disabilities to overcome seemingly insurmountable challenges every day, this is the fire in my belly, and this is the very essence of what Motivation Australia exists for.

Connect with Ray on LinkedIn.

Lauren Flaherty

Lauren is an Occupational Therapist with more than 13 years experience in wheelchairs, seating and neuro-rehabilitation. Since joining Motivation Australia in 2010 as a part time consultant, her position has developed into a full time role as the organisation’s Senior Clinical Coordinator.

Role: Lauren provides clinical leadership; inputs into new programme design; develops and delivers training courses and mentoring clinics, and; provides remote and in country support of our partners.

She is also responsible for Motivation Australia’s social media and day to day website management.

Lauren has been involved in the development of the WHO Wheelchair Service Training Packages (WSTP). She is also an author of the WHO WSTP Training of Trainers Package.

What do you enjoy about working with Motivation Australia? A key aspect of my role is in the development and mentoring of local staff who are proving mobility device services in challenging situations; it is always really satisfying to see the change and development in staff, and know that this will positively impact on the lives of hundreds of people with a mobility disability.

I also really appreciate the commitment of the team to continue to provide high quality, innovative, sustainable and effective solutions for our partners.

Connect with Lauren on LinkedIn.

Jodie Summer

Jodie is a Chartered Accountant with experience in financial system development and process improvement.  She has worked in the South Australian Health sector and for the international accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers.  Jodie has a Graduate Diploma in Chartered Accounting (GradDipCA), Bachelor of Commerce (double major in Accounting and Management) and a Cert IV in Financial Services. In 2011 she was admitted as a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia (ICAA).  Jodie is an active member of the South Australian ICAA Not for Profit discussion group and the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID) Finance Working Group.

Role: As the Finance Manager, Jodie provides financial business advice to Motivation Australia’s employees, consultants, volunteers, partners and other stakeholders by providing: Effective strategies in managing financial performance, monitoring, reporting and analysis, budget development and forecasting; Effective financial system development, and; Expert financial operational advice and leadership.

What do you enjoy about working with Motivation Australia? I enjoy working with Motivation Australia because the work is so varied and rewarding.  It is always great to know that the work that we are doing here in Australia in an administrative role ultimately enables us to enhance the quality of life of people with mobility disabilities. I enjoy working with a fantastic team of friendly, motivated, driven, highly skilled and professional people.

Connect with Jodie on LinkedIn.

Kate Shortt

Kate has a background in administration, sales and office management through roles in both the United Kingdom and Australia working in the New Homes industry. She also worked as a Police Officer in the UK, before emigrating to Australia with her husband in 2008; followed closely by the birth of her daughter.

Role: Kate is our Officer Manager, who provides administrative assistance to the CEO and programme staff, remotely supporting our in-country training and support visits.

What do you enjoy about working with Motivation Australia? With a relaxed but professional working environment, Motivation Australia is a genuine team made up of friends as well as colleagues. I admire the work that our team does, here in Australia and abroad. Hearing the inspiring stories when they return home from a training or project abroad keeps me motivated!

Connect with Kate on LinkedIn.

Lee Brentnall

Lee has worked as a clinician and as a lecturer in Prosthetics and Orthotics in Australia, Kiribati, Sri Lanka and Fiji; along with contributing to research projects focused on International Public Health. Lee joined Motivation Australia as a volunteer, before coming on board to contribute to planning for integrated mobility device services in the Asia Pacific Region.

Role: Lee is a Consultant Prosthetist/Orthotist, working with the senior team across a number of programmes including in Samoa where Lee will support the creation of an integrated mobility device service, and; PNG where she is contributing to the development of the National Assistive Devices Guidelines. Lee is also an author of the Keep Moving project – which aims to build the capacity of personnel working to prevent lower limb amputation and to support return to mobility for people who have had an amputation in the Pacific region.

What do you enjoy about working with Motivation Australia? Motivation Australia is a small team that does an enormous amount of work. They are supportive and always excited about taking on new challenges and projects to support people with a mobility disability. I love being a part of a team of people that are dedicated and passionate about what they do: and seeing the immediate benefits of the work that we do for the people we work with.

Connect with Lee on LinkedIn.

Christina Parasyn

Christina is an independent consultant with 19 years experience working in international development and disability. In this time she has worked in partnership with people with disabilities, governments, donors, service providers, faith-based organisations, international NGOs and the United Nations in developing countries to ensure people with disabilities can access the same rights as opportunities as others, in line with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

She has a Masters of Social Science (International Development), a Bachelor of Applied Science (Occupational Therapy) and is a qualified outdoor educator. Her field experience includes Maldives, Fiji, India, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Cook Islands, Kiribati, Philippines, Solomon Islands, Vietnam and Australia.

Role: Since joining Motivation Australia as a part time consultant in 2015 she has supported implementation of Motivation Australia’s projects in Papua New Guinea and Samoa. She has played a key role in the consultation and drafting process of the PNG National Guidelines on the Provision of Assistive Technology for Persons with Disabilities. She has also contributed to the development of data tools to track progress of the Samoa Disability Program.

What do you enjoy about working with Motivation Australia? The team at Motivation Australia is committed to the rights of persons with disabilities and their partners wherever they work. It is exciting to be part of discussions and field visits where time is dedicated to regularly understand the local context and priorities, in particular from persons with disabilities. This allows us to strengthen our relationships with and learn from our partners. It enables us to be flexible and responsive.  Importantly, it ensures our contributions continue to focus on sustainable, contextually appropriate and improved access and opportunities for persons with disabilities in their communities.

Katrina McGrath

Katrina graduated as a Prosthetist / Orthotist in 2002. Since this time she has been working as a clinician in Hobart, Tasmania. Her work has involved orthotic, prosthetic and wheelchair-seating provision, with an emphasis on paediatric services.

Role: After spending time with Motivation Australia as a volunteer, Katrina moved to Adelaide in August 2015 to commence a full time position as a Clinical Project Officer. Her role will be supporting projects in Samoa and Fiji.

Connect with Katrina on LinkedIn.

Jolene McCool

Jolene has a background of nearly 20 years working in accounting and finance. She started her working life in a College in Scotland where she both worked and studied – gaining, a diploma and advanced diploma in Accounting & Finance. After working across a variety of Finance and analytical roles in Scotland she arrived in Adelaide as part of a working holiday in 2007. Jolene began working for a not for profit, aged care provider and decided to stay!  After taking some time out and having her second daughter, she has joined the team at Motivation Australia part time.

Role: As the Support Officer, Jolene provides financial and administrative support to the team.

What do you enjoy about working with Motivation Australia? I enjoy working with Motivation Australia because the work is so varied and the team is made up of some amazing professionals who I am learning from daily.

Larissa Burke

Larissa is a physiotherapist with several years of clinical experience who has a keen interest in global health and international development. She joins the Motivation Australia after spending two years living and working in the Pacific on the Australian Volunteer Program. This included working in Fiji on a special and inclusive education project and most recently, in Vanuatu advocating for and working towards disability inclusion on a vocational skills training program. Larissa is passionate about disability inclusion and working for all people to have equal access to services and opportunity for full participation in community life. Larissa has a Bachelor of Physiotherapy and a Graduate Certificate in International Health and is currently studying a Masters of Public Health/International Health.

Larissa works as a Programme Support Officer. Her role includes providing support to the CEO and the team by contributing to international development project documentation and management.

What do you enjoy about working with Motivation Australia? Working with Motivation Australia allows me to stay connected to Pacific and to work with a great team in supporting and building the capacity of partner organisations and working to improve the quality of life of people living with disability.

Hafsaa Tmar-Richardson

Hafsaa is a Public Relations graduate who was born and raised in Belgium. Since moving to Australia in June 2015, she has offered her time and skills volunteering as Receptionist and Fundraising Team member at the Fleurieu Cancer Support Foundation, Victor Harbor.

Role: Hafsaa has joined the team part-time, as Motivation Australia’s Public Fundraising Officer.

What do you enjoy about working with Motivation Australia? Helping the community and raising money for a worthy cause are the missions I am excited about and I am keen to accomplish them with Motivation Australia!

Dr Lloyd Walker, Chairperson

BE (Hons) Mech; MThSt(Bioethics); PhD (Bioengineering); CPEng (Biomed) FIEAust; GAICD


Lloyd is the Director of Assistive Technology at the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) based in Geelong Head Office. Previously he spent five years running his own company (Tech4Life) focused on enabling people through assistive technology. Lloyd continues to lead assistive technology standards work in both Australia and internationally on assistive technology.

Lloyd was previously Director of NovitaTech, Australia’s largest specialist Rehabilitation Engineering and assistive technology centre.

Chris Miller, Treasurer


Chris has held a range of senior corporate roles in the public, private and not for profit sectors including General Manager of NovitaTech. Chris’s roles have focused on systems development, governance and business performance improvement. Chris is a qualified and admitted lawyer.