Learning Disability Week - Overcoming adversity
06/06/2014In advance of this year’s Learning Disability Week (16-22 June) which is celebrating people overcoming adversity, eight women with learning disabilities from the Armagh area have been recalling how they were inspired by speakers at this year’s International Women’s Day event.
The women attend a Gender Studies group facilitated by Marie Morgan from the Southern Health and Social Care Trust.
The key speakers at the event in Armagh were blind water skier Janet Gray who lost her sight at 21 years as a result of a very rare eye disease. Through hard work and determination, Janet reached the pinnacle of her sport to become World Disabled Water Ski Champion four times and is World Record holder in the three disciplines of slalom, trick and jump. She was World Champion in 1999, 2001 and 2003.
Gabrielle Mosley, Counselor for Political and Economic Affairs for the US Consulate General in Belfast. Prior to her Ms Mosley’s arrival in August 2012, she served for a year in the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, as First Secretary, Economic Affairs and Trade and Investment Team Leader.
Delegate Karen Aiken said: "These were two very inspiring women speakers."
Brenda McCann adds: "I thought Janet's story was very touching."
Sandie Gibb also attended the conference and thought "It was really interesting."
Jacqui Morgan said: "It was a wonderful day."
Edel Cunningham adds: "I enjoyed talking to Janet about canoeing and water-sports."
Facilitator Maria Morgan concludes: “This was an inspiring event for participants from Armagh and Dungannon Gender Studies Group. Gabrielle Moseley’s quote to follow your instincts and heart and to never stop dreaming were very poignant. Ms Moseley’s words are extremely relevant to the young women from the Group who attended the event.”
(Standing) Nicola Hill, Southern Trust facilitator Maria Morgan, Karen Aiken, Edel Cunningham, Brenda McCann, Sandie Gibbs, Jacqui Morgan, community access officer Eileen Canavan, Emma McAuley, Patricia Irwin, and Carol Corvan, Strategic Director of Corporate Services and Governance at Armagh City and District Council; (seated) Aisling Knipe, HR Manager, Armagh City and District Council; Gabrielle Moseley, Counselor for Political and Economic Affairs for the U.S. Consulate General in Belfast; Lady Mayor Barbara Turner; Janet Gray, MBE; and Cllr Freda Donnelly
Blind water skier Janet Gray and Edel Cunningham discussed water-sports opportunities in Armagh