Subject: Helping disabled to rejoin society

Inner-West Weekly (Australia)

January 11, 2007 Thursday

Helping disabled to rejoin society

TRAVELLING overseas to volunteer your services is a tough ask for anyone, but an Ashfield physiotherapist can't get enough of it.

For the past two-and-a-half years, Louise Maher has dedicated her life to helping the people of East Timor. Working with Association for the Equality of the Disabled People of Timor (ASSERT), Ms Maher has helped many people live in the isolated nation.

ASSERT and The Cambodia Trust have established the Timor Loro Sae Centre for Physical Rehabilitation, which is Timor's first rehabilitation centre for disabled people and Ms Maher's second home.

''I've been working in a rehabilitation centre . . . where prosthetic (limbs) are made and fitted to amputees,'' she said. ''I've been helping disabled people get back into society.''

She said after doing some short-term volunteer work in Cambodia, she was eager to take on a more challenging project.

After applying to go to East Timor with volunteer organisation Palms Australia, Ms Maher said the experience had already been quite rewarding.

Now on a five-week holiday, Ms Maher found time to drop into her local church to give a talk on how great the experience had been.

''I'm just on holidays at the moment . . . just catching up with family and friends,'' she said. ''I've been doing things I don't get to do in East Timor, like going to the movies.''

For more information on ASSERT visit www.asserteasttimor.com; for more information on Palms Australia visit www.palms.org.au 


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