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Wednesday, 3 October 2018

In 1948, 14-year-old Robert Hinds met acclaimed disability activist Helen Keller and turned his life around.

The teenager had just been diagnosed with a rare, genetic condition - retinitis pigmentosa. He was going blind, and life was starting to get him down.

“Helen Keller was a big mentor in my life,” says Hinds, now an 84-year-old Northern Beaches resident. “Since then, my motto has always been ‘Don’t lie down with a disability’.”

To celebrate both Social Inclusion Week and International Day of People With a Disability, Robert will be a volunteer ‘Human Book’ for a day.

Council’s Stories of the Northern Beaches - Human Library event will be held on Saturday 1 December at the newly-refurbished Tramshed Arts & Community Centre in Narrabeen. The event will feature real people, ‘on loan’ to the public for 20 minutes at a time to share stories about overcoming challenges, stereotypes, prejudice and discrimination.

This will be Robert’s second experience as a ‘Human Book’ and the former chair of the Manly Access Committee and well-known local advocate, thoroughly enjoyed it last time.

“I shared my story with a number of people, including children and parents, business people, professional people and others,” said Robert. “Children were especially interested in my story.”

His main message to people is: “You’ve really got to be yourself and be up-front with people that you’ve got a disability - and not let it get you down.”

Come along and 'borrow' an interesting local for 20 mins at our Human Library event on Saturday 1 December . Hear their stories of overcoming challenges, stereotypes, prejudice or discrimination.