In 2002, when Anj Barker was just 16 years old, her life changed forever when she was brutally bashed to near death by an ex-boyfriend. She suffered severe brain damage and was in hospital, rehabilitation and a nursing home for three years, before being able to return home to full time care.
Anj continues to amaze everyone with her recovery and currently lives independently, despite needing a wheelchair for mobility, and is employed part-time at the National Australia Bank. Despite the enormous challenges she faces daily, Anj is determined to open the hearts and minds of others.
Anj campaigns to educate the public on anti-violence, pushing the boundaries for disability rights and fighting for better rehabilitation faculties as well as fighting for more appropriate accommodation for Young People in Nursing Homes through talking to students, men, women, health workers, Police and Politicians. She has spoken to around 30,000 young people around Australia so far, spreading the message of empowerment to say ‘no’ to violence by advocating respectful relationships.
Anj has been working on increasing her independence and is slowly overcoming all the obstacles that face someone with a disability. However, a specific challenge she is currently facing makes it hard for her to get around to talks, therapy and to visit family;
Anj’s second-hand 16 year old wheelchair accessible van is causing serious issues. The brakes are starting to malfunction, which makes being on the road not only dangerous for Anj, but also for others. Moreover, the van’s suspension is seriously worn out and the air conditioner has been playing up.
Where this wouldn’t be a big issue for some, it is very important for Anj to have a properly functioning air conditioner, as her body temperature control is not functioning as it should. In 2011 Anj was awarded Victorian Young Australian of the Year for her voluntary work, now in order to continue the amazing work Anj has done so far, she needs financial support.
Anj made the decision when she was 17 years old to be strong, to not be self-pitying and to seek the help of others rather than be passive and expect help. Anj has only asked for help when she has had absolutely no other option. Help Anj to raise funds for a new wheelchair-accessible van so Anj can continue her important advocacy efforts in all areas, please follow the link below if you wish to donate.