People with disability from Syrian and Iraqi refugee backgrounds living in Australia have limited access to information and resources in Arabic language. Our study aim was to use a co-design process to create a suite of Arabic-language resources to increase information access and build capacity of people with disability and family members from refugee backgrounds to use services, and of disability and refugee services to provide relevant support. Following a rapid literature review about access to supports and services for people with disability from refugee backgrounds, workshops were held with 38 people with disability and family members from Syrian and Iraqi refugee backgrounds to identify service access barriers. An online bi-lingual co-design group involving six people with disability and family members, six service providers and four researchers then developed resource content and formats to address identified barriers. Professional video production companies developed the visual resources. A co-developed dissemination plan ensured the resources reached target audiences. This paper details the PAR bilingual co-design method used and explains how using this method resulted in an active and equitable partnership through which all members’ capacity and understanding was built resulting in a range of practical resources for use by those who reported a need but limited access.


co-design, participatory action research, bilingual, refugee, disability, carers, community accessibility, support

Author Bio(s)

The authors are academic researchers based at two universities in Australia and service providers who support people from refugee backgrounds arriving in Australia. We have collaborated on several research projects working with people with disability from Syrian and Iraqi refugee backgrounds. Please direct correspondence to Angela Dew at angela.dew@deakin.edu.au


We acknowledge the resilience of people with disability and family members from refugee backgrounds and thank all those who took part in the workshops and co-design groups. We pay our respects to the Traditional Custodians of the Lands where this research took place and acknowledge that sovereignty has never been ceded.

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