Sending New Voices to Canberra

Anglican Deaconess Ministries sponsored Jerusha Mather reflects on her recent trip to Parliament for Voices for Justice.

This article appears on the Anglican Deaconess Ministries website and is shared with permission and in partnership for God’s Kingdom.


Last month, Libby Sanders, ADM’s program manager for Mercy & Justice, 2019 Senior Fellow Brooke Prentis and 2019 Creative Fellow Emma Pittman joined 200 Australians and 15 Pacific Church leaders in Parliament with the goal of sharing their support for Australian Aid and to discuss what the Pacific Step Up means for Pacific people.

With almost 100 face-to-face meetings with the nation’s politicians, including Senior Ministers, ADM partnered with Micah Australia, who organised the trip as part of the Voices for Justice Conference.

ADM’s Mercy & Justice program also helped sponsor four women’s trips, one of whom was Jerusha Mather.

Jerusha is a current neuroscientist PhD candidate at Victoria University and alongside her advocacy for those in poverty, she is a passionate advocate for an inclusive medical profession. She has athetoid cerebral palsy and was also thrilled to be able to share the trip on the International Day for People with a Disability.

Jerusha was invited to address the Micah delegation at the ‘opening event’ of Voices for Justice at Parliament House. Here are her words:

“My name is Jerusha. Thank you (Micah and ADM) for inviting me to talk today.

I was born in Sri Lanka where the doctors said I would never walk or talk. My family came to Australia when I was little for a better future. In Australia, we were fortunate enough to get services that improved my life. I am now doing a PhD in brain stimulation.

But I sometimes wonder what my life would have been like if I stayed back in Sri-Lanka. My life would have been quite limited. I have heard many stories about the injustice that people with a disability face in developing countries. This is not fair. And I am determined to change this.

Voices for Justice is very important because they’ve given me an opportunity to stand for people with disability in developing countries, to recognise their abilities and independence, to stand for their rights, inclusion, education and employment.

Our voice can change people’s life and help put back dignity in the heart of humanity.

This is the very heart of God. To help those in need.

To beam the light of hope. To endure together in tough times. We need to care about justice. We need to break barriers and create possibilities. Give people a chance to achieve their purpose in life. There is hope. But we need action.

The current system is broken. We need to build better systems even in poor countries We need to support their talents and human rights.

Why? Because there is ability in the word vulnerability. It is time we acknowledge this. I believe, together, we can make a difference. We can create a kind and just community. Thank you again for your time. God bless you all.”

Libby Sanders of ADM and Jerusha at Voices for Justice.

Cover photo: Jerusha and lobby group with her local MP Andrew Giles.