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NAIDOC puppy celebrates connection between NIKERI Institute and Vision Australia
Earlier this year, Vision Australia marked NAIDOC Week by naming a litter of potential Seeing Eye Dogs pups in honour of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture. Four names were chosen demonstrating a strong connection to Country and acknowledgment of First Nations Communites and heritage: Ngawan, Kirrip, Mirring, and Nikeri.
Nikeri, named after the National Indigenous Knowledges Education Research and Innovation (NIKERI) Institute at Deakin University celebrates the relationship between the education space and Vision Australia through Indigenous Knowledges academic, Kim Browne and her Seeing Eye dog Raya.
“Raya and I have been working together in partnership for over three years. As a seeing-eye dog, Raya greatly assists in my mobility and guidance in all areas of my life and this has been greatly supported by Vision Australia. As a full-time lecturer and researcher at NIKERI Institute, my role involves accessing all facilities and spaces and also travelling to new places. Raya confidently guides me throughout all these endeavours in my daily life.” Kim explains.
The puppy’s name, Nikeri, symbolises the relationships Kim and Raya have developed through their work at Deakin and the crucial part of community that a Seeing Eye Dog becomes. Raya’s presence within the NIKERI Institute community provides mobility and opportunity for her handler Kim, and in her own right is considered a member of the team with Raya’s photo included on the staff photo wall.
Community and inclusion are essential
experiences for people living with disability, and Kim and Raya have found that
at Deakin. A space of recognition and inclusion has been created - one that
other students and staff with low vision or blindness can appreciate and look
to achieve their own educational opportunities.
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