On December 12, 2019 Taja Lonstrup was honoured at the Manitoba Human Rights Awards in Winnipeg. Taja is a staff member with Prairie Mountain Health and works as a Social Worker in the Dialysis unit at Brandon Regional Health Centre.
The Human Rights Commitment Award recognizes a person or group who has made a significant contribution to the advancement of the rights of Manitobans, beyond the work they do in their paid job or position. Taja Lonstrup is the mother of two children, who have disabilities. Taja has worked tirelessly to promote the rights of her children and the rights of caregivers of people with disabilities.
"Through sharing my own story, I am able to advocate for families of children with intellectual disabilities in the hopes of creating change. By identifying barriers and changes that are needed families can receive the support they need to remain whole," shared Lonstrup.
Taja’s efforts to raise awareness, lobby decision makers such as local MLA’s, and to pressure local service providers has been very effective in making gaps in service evident. She is interested in empowering families to speak out for the supports and services they need in order to participate fully as a family, and to be contributing members of their community.
"I truly see this award not specific to me, but for all parents who advocate for their disabled children every day," Lonstrup stated.
A reception in honour of Taja will be hosted by Inclusion Westman on Tuesday, January 14, 2020 at the Riverbank Discovery Center in Brandon from 6-8pm.
Each year, a distinct piece is created by a local artist for the recipient. This year, Ildiko Nova’s piece "One Community" was selected. The piece focuses on what we all share, namely a need for belonging and celebration.