Partnerships in Action: Irabina Association Randwick

We congratulate and thank Bernice Bugler CSB and Margaret Mary Wilkinson LCM for their commitment to adults with intellectual disabilities in the work of Irabina, the association they established. For more than 27 years Irabina has provided respite care, counselling and advocacy, home visits and outings for adults with intellectual disabilities.

Bernice and Margaret Mary were joined by LCM and Brigidine sisters as well as many other friends and supporters at a dinner to celebrate their commitment and to formally bring the Association to a close.

At Irabina’s 20th anniversary in 2003 Warwick Wilkinson spoke about “Irabina’s skills in negotiating with various government authorities to ensure the best outcomes for those in need. They have become well known within government and charitable circles. Its goals and programs have been adapted over the years to meet changing circumstances in the lives of the intellectually disabled. But its mission remains, as ever, to deepen concern and respect for the dignity, uniqueness and freedom of each individual, and to improve the quality of life for every member.

Irabina is an Aboriginal word which means awakening, and this meaning describes Irabina well. It describes the awakening of the wider community to an awareness of our intellectually disabled brothers and sisters, the social and emotional awakening that is fostered through the activities of Irabina, and the re-awakening of human kindness through such involvement.

In those early days Irabina’s aims were to integrate intellectually disabled adults into the community by providing educational training, and social and recreational activities based on Christian care and concern, as well as to provide respite accommodation and care. These aims have been achieved beyond measure…”

Above: Margaret Mary, Bernice and Jennifer Barrow, Province Leader of the Little Company of Mary Sisters.

Province Leaders Jennifer Barrow and Dorothy Costigan offering a prayer of blessing and gratitude for Bernice and Margaret Mary.

We acknowledge and thank Bernice and Margaret Mary for giving tirelessly of their time, for responding to calls whatever hour of the day or night, for being there to talk with, counsel and comfort members over the years. We thank them for their perseverance and achievements in operating for 27 years and for going from strength to strength. They have each brought their own personal skills and experience to Irabina – Bernice with her background in education and social welfare, and Margaret Mary with her many years working in pharmacy, nursing and administration.

We thank the helpers, carers and volunteers who have given of their time to assist Bernice and Margaret Mary in helping to make the lives of Irabina members meaningful and enjoyable.