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Aboriginal Services TV ad launched for NAIDOC Week

08 July, 2013

Dogs NSW/ACT's latest TV ad, which is part of its first Aboriginal-specific education campaign, will be launched during NAIDOC Week, 7 to 14 July.

The 30-second ad created by Sydney production house 'Louder than Words', talks about the independence Aunty Mary has gained since learning how to use a long cane. It aims to educate Aboriginals who are blind or vision impaired about Guide Dogs NSW/ACT's free, local services.

Louder than Words Producer Edgars Greste says, "We really enjoyed working with Guide Dogs NSW/ACT to reach out to a wider audience and help shift the perception about their full range of services."

Guide Dogs NSW/ACT

To watch the ad on Guide Dogs NSW/ACT's Youtube Channel, click on the image or on this link: http://youtu.be/cMNG_kmFeiE

The broader campaign, including an educational DVD targeting Aboriginal health workers, a services brochure and poster, will be launched in the Central West NSW town of Wellington where the ad and DVD were filmed, in September when Central West NSW celebrates NAIDOC Week.

The campaign is the initiative of Aunty Mary, from Mudgee, who wants to ensure other Aboriginals don't wait like she did to seek assistance from Guide Dogs NSW/ACT.

Aunty Mary said the campaign's focus was to present information about the organisation's services in a simplified manner that was language and culturally accessible for Aboriginal communities.

"Until I discovered Guide Dogs NSW/ACT, I felt isolated and couldn't identify with any services that were culturally appropriate and sensitive to Aboriginal people," says Aunty Mary, who is legally blind due to diabetic retinopathy - a condition that causes damage to the retinal tissue and can lead to blindness if left untreated.

"In fact I didn't approach Guide Dogs NSW/ACT at first because I thought they would give me a guide dog. But I heard an ad on TV saying that they also train people in how to use canes. So I rang them; they came out to me and gave me cane training.

"I was able to get my cane in Aboriginal colours so people can identify me as Aboriginal. I want Aboriginals and all cultures to know about Guide Dogs NSW/ACT - if it wasn't for them I wouldn't be able to be where I am at the moment at college continuing my studies. They helped me to develop the skills I needed to get out of the house, catch a bus and get around independently in the community. Not only was it help for me, it was also help for my family."

With blindness rates in Aboriginal adults over six times the rate in mainstream Australia and vision loss in general on the rise due to the ageing population*, Guide Dogs NSW/ACT hopes its new campaign will see more Aboriginals with vision loss seeking its training programs in how to move around safely and independently.

"Our services are not widely known in Aboriginal communities, so we're hoping that this new information kit will be very useful for both Aboriginal Health Workers, people with vision impairment and families and carers supporting people with vision impairment," says Jennifer Moon, Community Education Coordinator for Guide Dogs NSW/ACT.

Guide Dogs NSW/ACT is the leading provider of training for people with impaired vision on how to safely move through different environments. Training may include teaching people how to use aids such as long canes, guide dogs and electronic devices, like talking GPS, as well as skills such as safe road-crossing techniques and use of public transport.

With 10 offices across NSW and ACT, including in Central West NSW, Guide Dogs NSW/ACT is committed to serving all communities and providing local services wherever possible.

To learn more about Guide Dogs NSW/ACT services visit www.guidedogs.com.au or call 9412 9300.

ENDS

MEDIA: Please contact Sally Edgar, 0413 753 241 or media@guidedogs.com.au

ABOUT GUIDE DOGS NSW/ACT
Guide Dogs NSW/ACT is the leading provider of guide dogs and orientation and mobility services to enable people with impaired vision to get around their communities independently. Services include providing training and aids including long canes, guide dogs and electronic travel devices such as talking GPS technology. Visit www.guidedogs.com.au, call 1800 804 805, or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

Source: *National Indigenous Eye Health Survey, 2009, published by the Indigenous Eye Health Unit, Melbourne School of Population Health, The University of Melbourne in collaboration with the Centre for Eye Research Australia and the Vision CRC.


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