Youth and Pacific Manager, Cerebral Palsy Society
Master of Human Rights student
Bachelor of Communication Studies in Public Relations
He is passionate about making a difference, says Jordon Milroy, a youth and Pacific advocate for the Cerebral Palsy Society.
“We can’t solve all the problems of the world but if we’re focused and determined, we can take one step in the right direction each day and slowly the world will change around us.”
Jordon knows what he is talking about. As someone living with cerebral palsy himself, he loves being able to support people with disabilities and implement solutions to the inaccessibility issues they face. Through his work at the Cerebral Palsy Society he has networked with over 700 young people with cerebral palsy, and has advocated for the interests of his community at decision-making bodies like the Health and Disability Commission and the Disability Housing Forum.
Born in Samoa, Jordon has also helped to co-ordinate the donation of wheelchairs and wheelchair repair kits to Samoa, and as a Paralympic sailing champion he has represented the island at the Pacific Games.
Becoming a change maker
With a strong interest in human rights as well as advocacy, Jordon is currently enrolled in AUT’s Master of Human Rights.
“Growing up with a physical disability and then securing a successful job as a disability activist after graduating with a Bachelor of Communication Studies in Public Relations, for me the next step was to aim towards a world-class recognised qualification in human rights, with a focus on disability and indigenous populations.
“The Master of Human Rights had an emphasis on the rights of the child, which I could easily transfer to my current role as a youth manager. The knowledge and practical skills I gained have enhanced my career progression from a youth manager to a comprehensive policy observer and a changemaker when it comes to youth with disabilities.”
Balancing a full-time job with part-time study, while living with a physical disability, has had its challenges, Jordon admits.
“I’ve appreciated the flexibility of the Master of Human Rights, which enables students to complete it in one year full-time or across five years part-time while carrying on working. AUT has also provided wraparound support, which allows me to be successful in postgraduate study through practical support and note-taking, access to a reader/writer and accessible world-class buildings. As a proud disabled and Pacific person, excelling in postgraduate study is a major achievement.”
Making a difference for Pacific people
Meeting other Pacific human rights activists was inspiring, says Jordon.
“A lightbulb moment for me was meeting a Pacific human rights activist and academics who are striving towards the empowerment of Pacific voices within academic research. This has inspired me to become immersed in this changing landscape and work towards becoming a disabled Pacific academic.”
Expecting to graduate with his Master of Human Rights in 2021, Jordon already has a clear idea what he wants to do next.
“Once I complete my studies, my goal is to work as a human rights activist in the Pacific region to highlight the challenges of people living with cerebral palsy within the Pacific context. That is the most ambitious and main driving force for me.”