We are proud to share that our Hindi speaking storyteller, Nidhi Shekaran, is an official nominee for the Blind Australian of the Year Awards.
The Blind Australian of the Year Awards actively acknowledge and highlight the contribution that over half a million people who live with low vision and blindness make to Australian society. They celebrate the exceptional contribution of individuals living with blindness and low vision who, by their example, inspire others to excellence and by their actions, improve Australian community life.
Nidhi will be attending the The Blind Australian of the Year Awards Gala Evening on 28 October 2023. Read her nomination below:
Nidhi Shekaran is the current Chairperson on the City of Sydney's Inclusion (Disability) Advisory Panel and was a finalist for the NSW Volunteer of the year awards in 2017. She has dedicated her life to being an agent of advocacy and education within the disability and multicultural sectors. Nidhi lives with mild cerebral palsy and a vision impairment and is a proud white cane user.
Born in India, Nidhi’s lived experience inspired her to become an advocate for culturally and linguistically diverse people with disabilities. Nidhi has worked and volunteered for the Multicultural Disability Advocacy Association since 2005 and has served seven other organisations in the disability sector. By drawing on her bilingual skills and passion for advocacy, Nidhi has transformed attitudes and removed barriers within contemporary multicultural Australia.
Most recently, she has worked with the Ethnic Communities' Council of NSW (ECCNSW) on several innovative programs to address the intersection of cultural diversity and disability. In 2021, she shared her lived experience in English through the Our Journeys Podcast Series, a creative campaign designed to challenge cultural stigmas and stereotypes about disability.
In 2022, she contributed to Speak My Language (Disability), a national initiative funded by the Department of Social Services and led by ECCNSW, to share culturally diverse stories about living well with a disability. Nidhi shared her story in Hindi via podcasts and SBS Hindi Radio to provide information and resources that support others in her cultural community living with disability.
Nidhi's tireless advocacy extends beyond the multicultural sector, extending her impact throughout mainstream society. She is currently a member of the co-production expert panel for the NSW Health Education Centre Against Violence. Additionally, Nidhi’s work forms a part of the co-design mechanisms for the NSW Health Sexual Assault and New Street Disability Access Strategy. Her work as the Chair of the City of Sydney's Inclusion (Disability) Advisory Panel is shaping policy and strategies to create a more inclusive city. Therefore, the impact of Nidhi's advocacy will be felt across generations.
Nidhi's bilingual advocacy has dismantled barriers, both linguistic and cultural, thereby creating a more inclusive and diverse Australian community. It has been a privilege for the ECCNSW to work so closely with Nidhi and we strongly believe she is the ideal candidate for this award.