Rehabilitation and Mobility Conference

The inaugural Pacific Rehabilitation and Mobility Conference held in Nadi, Fiji in the first week of April was an outstanding success. The conference was attended by 89 delegates from Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Vanuatu, United States of America, New Zealand and Australia. Delegates included: service providers, managers and users; representatives from local and international non-government organisations, funding agencies and development partners.

Conference delegates listening to a presenter off screen. In the fore ground are two women in colourful dresses.

Celebrating the Conference Theme: ‘Pacific Leaders creating Sustainable Services’, delegates from nine countries in the Pacific region, inclusive of those who use, provide and manage services worked together to share ideas, discuss and learn about how to build inclusive rehabilitation and assistive technology services that support inclusion and participation for all. The three days of the conference were full of collaboration, and sharing of knowledge, ideas and ways to strengthen services for people with disabilities all over the Pacific. New friends were made, old friends reacquainted, and networks developed to ensure that this collaboration and sharing continues long into the future.

Angie Chand from Pacific Disability Forum perfectly articulated this sentiment during the closing ceremony: “This conference was all about partnerships, building networks, how we connect with each other and the journey does not end here. As we go away let’s continue the conversation, lets continue to be vocal. I would like to thank each and every one of you for your contribution.”

Three images: Mike dressed in a colourful yellow and blue shirt and Pauline in a green and blue dress were MCs for the night. a Tongan man in a red shirt from behind looking forward towards the rapt audience of conference delegates during the Tongan teams crowd favourite traditional dancing and singing performance. Akoaki in traditional i-Kiribati dress dancing during the cultural night.

The conference dinner Cultural Night was a particularly big hit! Delegates were entertained with traditional dancing and singing from Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Samoa, Vanuatu, Cook Islands and Tonga. Everyone involved represented their countries (or adopted countries) with pride and talent. Special mention to crowd favourites from Tonga, Kiribati and the Cook Islands. A big shout out also to our MCs for the evening Mike (from Solomon Islands) and Pauline (from Samoa) who kept the night rolling smoothly.

Motivation Australia personnel greatly enjoyed the conference, and we are very much looking forward to being able bring everyone back together again in the future.

Download the Conference Report here.

Acknowledgements

Motivation Australia thanks our Conference partner the Pacific Disability Forum; conference donors – Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Pacific-Community-SPC, the New Zealand Government, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Rotary Club of Torquay, Victoria, Australia. Thank you also to the Spinal Injury Association of Fiji and Frank Hilton Organization Fiji for bringing mobility equipment from Suva to support sessions, and Richard Law and Law Comfort and Caulfield Hospital for donations of supplies for our practical sessions on post-amputation management.

An ENORMOUS thank you to all delegates, including those who presented, supported sessions and contributed posters. Thank you also to development partners CBM Australia, Seating To Go, Wheelchairs 4 Kids, Cerebral Palsy Alliance, ISPO International and ISPO Australia and ARATA for joining us all and contributing your knowledge and support to Pacific partners.