Hall of fame inductee a true inspiration for others

Hall of fame inductee a true inspiration for others

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Nihal Iscel has been inducted into the WA Women’s Hall of Fame.

Former Canning and now East Victoria Park resident Nihal Iscel has been recognised for her tireless advocacy work, being inducted into the WA Women’s Hall of Fame on Monday.

Born without sight, the experiences of her life – especially migrating to Australia from Turkey when she was 14 – pushed her down a path of fierce advocacy for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse [CALD] people, especially those with a disability.

“If it was up to me, I would never have nominated for it, I was nominated by a friend but it means a lot to me,” she said.

“It goes to recognise the work I have been doing in my field, working with people with disabilities from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, its an honour, a great honour to be honest.

“I have lived experience so I can identify the challenges.”

Ms Iscel migrated from Turkey to Australia in 1981, but it wasn’t easy.

“I was only 14, so I wasn’t aware of the any Australian Government policies, but my sister is also blind and my father, who was working in Australia, told us to have my grandparents recognised as my guardians or we might be split up, because Australia didn’t want migrants with disabilities.

“Without my parents I couldn’t have survived without my parents, by my mother said all of us go or none of us go, and I’m not sure of the details but I think the mining company Dad worked for played a part in getting us over.

“The legislation is still in effect, migrants with disabilities are seen as a burden on the taxpayer but we are here, we are working and contributing paying taxes, it’s very, very unfair.

“Society has changed but the legislation has not, and it’s sad.

“I’ve been through Europe, even China and I’ve never had the perception that I was anywhere I shouldn’t have been, or wasn’t wanted.”

Since coming to Australia Ms Iscel has worked tirelessly, and the list of organisations she has been involved with is incredibly impressive, including the National Ethnic Disability Alliance, People with Disabilities WA, Umbrella Multicultural Services and the Ethnic Communities Council of WA, just to name a few.

Nihal has presented at numerous conferences, locally and nationally on Advocacy and Social change.

Her words continue to inspire.