Meet Our Speakers

Abri (Abbey) Lotfi

Abir speaks about the following topics

The NDIS defines recovery as achieving an optimal state of personal, social and emotional wellbeing, as defined by each individual, whilst living with, or recovering from a mental health condition. People living with mental health conditions need to be involved in defining, designing and navigating their own recovery and wellbeing journey.

Supporting and engaging carers and supporters from CALD background recognises the value of their expertise and contributions to supporting the goals of people with disability.

Abir (Abbey) Lotfi

Abbey is a peer mentor, peer facilitator, bilingual educator and devoted carer for her son who has complex disabilities. She brings a wealth of knowledge about disability and the importance of social inclusion. She believes in the power of positive thinking and self-care as vital in the provision of high-quality care to the family and person with a disability.

Background

Abbey was born and raised in Cairo, Egypt as part of a close extended family. She describes her family as traditional and conservative: her mum looked after the home and family while her father served in the Egyptian Airforce and was rarely at home.

She married an Egyptian husband and migrated to Australia in 1995. They settled in South Western Sydney and raised their own family of three sons. Abbey is devoted to her family, especially her middle son, who is 20 years old and has a severe intellectual disability, Autism and a rare and complex type of disability called Pitt Hopkin. Abbey is dedicated to helping him reach his potential and live a full life just like his two brothers.

Abbey has gained a wealth of knowledge and skills advocating for her son’s care and support. She has extensive expertise in understanding and implementing the NDIS, and her experience as a carer gives her a sense of connection and empathy with other carers of family members who live with disability. Abbey firmly believes the well-being of carers is enhanced through building social connections for emotional and spiritual support, and that peer support networks are a valuable means of sharing knowledge, challenging stigma and promoting social inclusion.

As a peer facilitator and peer mentor with Diversity Disability Alliance, Abbey supported people with disabilities and their carers to develop self-advocacy skills and establish a peer-support network. As a bilingual educator with Western Sydney Recovery College, she is raising awareness and overcoming the stigma of mental health issues in the Arabic speaking community, and educating clients from Arabic speaking backgrounds about mental health, recovery and coping strategies to live their life as fully as possible. Abbey also volunteers in other roles including assisting students with cerebral palsy to successfully complete their certificate III qualification in Transport Logistics and Warehouse Operations, and participating in the Carer Advisory and Consultant Group of Uniting Recovery, Parramatta.

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