In 2008 following thirty years involvement in disability advocacy, Frank Hall-Bentick asked his sisters Lesley and Annette and a group of friends Rae, Lyndall, Cath, Ros and Jody to help him setup and run an education fund for people with disability. Titled the Australian Disability and Indigenous Peoples' Education Fund (ADIPEF), the fund will assist indigenous and non-indigenous people with disability to participate in both formal and informal education programs through small grants.
Frank has a life-long disability and along with other members of his family has experienced many years of hospitalisation, special schools and disability services. For the last thirty-eight years Frank has been involved in disability advocacy and the empowerment of people with disability locally, nationally and internationally. Realising that the work to empower people with disability is ongoing he has long considered the best way to support this is through further education and learning.
In April 2008 he with his sisters and these friends set up the Australian Disability and Indigenous Peoples' Education Fund (ADIPEF) under the auspice of the Australian Communities Foundation. This Fund will assist people with disability gain empowerment through access to formal and informal education programs.
They believe the importance of education should not be measured in graduate degrees and diplomas or in salaries people achieve or careers people have undertaken and achieved. The importance of education should be measured by peoples' continual learning of cultures, relationships, history, tolerance and honing the skills to apply this learning.
Unfortunately for many people with disabilities their early years are more about cure and rehabilitation than stable, well-grounded education. The skills to make and retain careers, relationships and friends are developed while they attend school however continuing disruption of this education impacts greatly on this learning. For many children presently attending school, medical treatment and rehabilitation continues to disrupt their education. Many indigenous people with disabilities experience further disruption to their education due to poverty, isolation, lack of services, family breakdown.
Education is continuously growing, developing, changing, so many people undertake courses to begin again the education they never completed or to keep abreast with these new developments. With the development of technology, education has become more accessible for people with disabilities leading to people completing higher levels of education which in turn can lead to more complex and skilled work.
For many people with disabilities from both indigenous and non-indigenous backgrounds, education can go a long way to not only developing their skills but also their self-esteem and the pride of their family, friends and community.
For many, a small financial grant will enable them to undertake a course. This education fund is about helping people complete or undertake courses and programs through providing small grants.