New website encourages people living with disabilities to share, connect
People living with disabilities and their families can share, learn and connect on the unique new website, Paper Wings – developed by social justice organisation Social Futures.
Social Futures is a leading not-for-profit organisation delivering the National Disability Insurance Scheme across regional New South Wales.
Paper Wings showcases the personal stories of people who have experienced the changes, challenges and triumphs of life with a disability.
Social Futures Community Development Coordinator, Scott Jones, who has been living with a visual impairment for more than 20 years, is one of many to already contribute a personal story to Paper Wings.
“I am always looking for opportunities to speak with people experiencing the same challenges,” Mr Jones said. “I can empathise with them and show them what is possible,” said Jones.
Jones said the website allowed him to hear more positive and encouraging stories by people sharing the same experiences.
“When first diagnosed with a visual impairment, my immediate response was to think of all the things I wouldn’t be able to do. This place of negativity was isolating and depressing. It wasn’t until I spoke to others with the same situation that I realised I do have options and opportunities. I personally was inspired by what I heard.
“I know how important it is to hear positive and encouraging stories told by people with a similar disability. Personal stories offer hope and deliver pathways that can help others work towards improving their circumstances and enhancing their life goals.”
Jones encouraged other people living with disabilities to try out Paper Wings in hopes that they may find the same comfort that he had.
“For me, Paper Wings was a great way to connect and share my own experiences. I could encourage others to move forward with both confidence and optimism,” he said
Social Future’s Capacity Building and Engagement Manager, Lynda Hope, came up with the idea for the Paper Wings site.
Hope said the website “encourages contributors to move away from the short instant messaging of social media, and go back to an old-school style of reflecting, thinking and crafting a very personal message.””
“Paper Wings features helpful prompts and suggests topics, and there is no limit to how many stories you can share. Stories or messages can be published anonymously or with a name, and contributors can choose to upload their own image or choose from the range of images available,” Hope said.
“I hope the people who put their message forward feel that gift of generosity. That by sharing their experiences they can help someone else to understand their own,” she said.