The voice of our members
The PWDA Board oversees the governance of the organisation and sets its strategic direction. Primarily, the Board’s role is to govern the organisation, and speak with and for all people with disability.
All members of the PWDA Board have lived experience of disability.
Interim President | Marayke Jonkers
Marayke is a paralympian who is passionate about creating a world where people can fulfill their full potential. As part of the Australian Paralympic Swimming Team, Marayke won three medals at the Sydney 2000, Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008 Paralympic games. She has expertise within the disability employment sector including implementing a pilot project for university graduates with disability, writing literature and consulting.
She is founder and president of Sporting Dreams, a previous board member of the Sunshine Coast Sports Federation, the 2016 ambassador for the National Injury Insurance Scheme Queensland (NIISQ), and participant in a range of commemorative events (including Queensland day, multicultural awareness week, Australia Day etc).
Marayke holds a Bachelor of Social Science (Community work) including disability studies/gender and public health, and a Bachelor of Arts (Communications), public relations and journalism. She enjoys developing public relations campaigns that highlight social issues and investigate how people with disability can be better represented in the media.
Co-Vice President | Eva Sifis
Eva Sifis is a professional showing commitment to the disability arts sector, bringing more than three decades of experience to the table. Having faced brain injury in 1999 and late stage lymphoma in 2009, Eva demonstrates resilience and dedication to advocacy for people with disability.
At the forefront of the Acquired Brain Injury community, her influence is strengthened by unique perspectives from wide-ranging experiences. After working, producing and performing in the disability arts sector, Eva’s impact within the advocacy space is steadily growing. Eva launched ‘By Accident’, Australia’s first peer developed and led series of facilitated conversations catering to those with brain injury or experience of trauma and her leadership in this initiative reflects passion for equity and the employment of persons with disabilities.
Eva held key roles with organisations Arts Access Victoria and Voice At The Table and presently consults for Women with Disabilities Victoria and Australian Federation of Disability Organisations. Her role with Give A Care Support services is now developing the foundation. Eva’s roles as a trainer, producer, artist, entrepreneur and advocate showcase her diverse skill set.
Co-Vice President | Kevyn Morris
Kevyn Morris is committed to advocating for people with disability. As a disabled man facing six chronic and degenerative conditions, Kevyn’s personal journey has fuelled his passion for instigating transformative change in the lives of Indigenous people and influencing governmental, public and organisational attitudes and laws.
Kevyn serves as a representative for people with disability over the age of 65, contributing to the Dementia Australia Advisory, the National Older Persons Reference Group and Arthritis Australia’s Advisory Committee. Kevyn also serves as a Board Member of the Murray Arts Board in the North-East border region of Victoria. Kevyn is also involved with the Reconciliation Action Committee with Dementia Australia, the Older Persons Advocacy Group, Dental Health Victoria and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation’s both at the state and federal levels, as well as committees, focus groups and steering committees with Standards Australia, Services Australia and the NDIA/NDIS.
Secretary | Suresh Rajan
Suresh has been involved in the advocacy space for well over 30 years with strong experience as president or board member for a range of disability and ethnic community organisations. These include the National Ethnic Disability Alliance, the Ethnic Disability Advocacy Centre, Ethnic Communities Council of WA, Federation of Ethnic Communities Councils of Australia, Chair of the Disability Sub Committee of FECCA, Treasurer of Attitude Foundation, Lifeline WA, the Anti-Racism Steering Committee and NDIA CaLD Strategy Group.
An accountant by profession, Suresh brings a sound financial background to the PWDA Board. He has been involved in the writing of the 2020-2030 WA State Disability Strategy, and is a committed advocate for many people with disability across Australia who have been impacted by our health systems.
Suresh is well known in media circles, with experience running a number of radio programs. He was the host of ‘Ethnicability’, a radio program called addressing issues of ethnicity and disability.
Treasurer | Presley Chihuri
Presley is an extensively experienced and highly skilled lived experience disability advocate. He is passionate about making a positive difference and supporting other people with disability achieve their dreams and reach their full potential.
Through his experience of living with disability, Presley has gained a unique understanding of the challenges and barriers that people with disability experience. He strives to change the narrative about disability and increase opportunities for people with disability to experience capacity building, especially those from disenfranchised and CALD backgrounds as well as regional and remote areas.
Presley is the founder of Ability AU, a new leading and innovative NDIS organisation that is dedicated to improving the life of participants and their carers. He is heavily involved in the organisation and brings a valuable perspective that is tailored towards people’s needs and interests. Presley believes that with the right support, everyone can achieve their dreams.
Director | Haidi Badawi
Haidi is a woman from a cultural and linguistically diverse (CaLD) background with lived experience of mental and physical disability based in Melbourne, Victoria. She is committed to furthering the human rights and the best outcomes for all people with disability across Australia in the spirit of “Nothing about us without us”.
As a molecular biologist, Haidi holds a Bachelor of Science (Hons), an MEd Degree in Educational Leadership and has four registered patents in science innovation. Haidi is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) and member of the Disability Leadership Institute Australia.
With 22 years of experience in leadership and learning, she has been a founding member and Ambassador of WomenH2H, and an active member with a number of boards and forums including the board of Women with Disabilities Victoria (WDV), the United Nation Australian Association (Victorian Division), and an Advisory Board member of the Gene Technology Access Centre (GTAC) affiliated with the University of Melbourne.
Director | Arun Barramundi
Arun is a National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participant and a public policy professional. He was born in Melbourne and currently lives in Canberra.
Director | Dr Zhila Hasanloo
Zhila is a woman with visual impairment from a Persian background, and is committed to furthering her grasp of contemporary developments in the sector, as well as her leadership and organisational governance skills. She brings extensive advocacy experience in both a personal and organisational capacity, with experience of caring for family with disability.
Zhila is passionate about working with diverse communities, and in 2016 she established a non-profit organisation, Ability Beyond Boundaries to raise disability awareness focusing on Persian community.
She holds a PhD in Education (focusing on disability rights) from the University of Sydney, been a member of several boards, worked for the Multicultural Disability Advocacy Association and employed by the NSW Department of Education where she was part of a team working on developing policies for young children with disability in preschool settings.
Zhila would like to increase PWDA’s level of representation and interactions with culturally and linguistically diverse (CaLD) communities and improve these community-level understandings of disability in Australia.
Our advisory groups give advice and support to our board of directors and executive staff in many important areas.
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