The Barkuma Difference – A Journey of Inclusion and Empowerment

23rd February, 2024

A Journey of Inclusion and Empowerment

Embarking on a journey with Barkuma is not just about providing disability support; it’s about creating a transformative experience for people with disability. We want you to Live your All.

We have a 50-year history and are dedicated to South Australians. Barkuma’s not-for-profit ethos and person-centred approach distinguish us from others in the field. We work with people to establish the capacity and confidence to transition out of high school and continue to build a life of independence that makes quality employment and accommodation outcomes achievable.

Simon Rowberry, Barkuma’s CEO, delves into what makes Barkuma truly unique and a preferred choice for those seeking disability support.

“We have been part of the South Australian landscape for a long period of time. We’re SA-based, and we work with South Australian employers and education sectors. And so, our focus is really on South Australians with a disability being included in the South Australian community.”

Our History is woven into the fabric of South Australia

Our extensive history in South Australia positions us as an integral part of the community. With a focus on local employers, education and commercial partners, Barkuma ensures that individuals with disabilities are not just supported but actively included in the South Australian community

Barkuma – 2023 Service Provider Award Winner, South Australian Premier’s Food and Beverage Awards


Established in 1967 as the ‘Central Districts Mentally Handicapped Children’s Association’, Barkuma has a rich history of supporting South Australians with disabilities. Our evolution includes pivotal moments such as the adoption of the name ‘Barkuma’ in 1980 and pioneering open employment services in 1986. Over the years, our services have expanded, achieving RTO status in 1999 and NDIS provider registration in 2015.

We are proud to have received the Telstra Business Awards South Australian Charity accolade in 2016 and the Service Provider Award at the 2023 South Australian Premier’s Food and Beverage Industry Awards.

Today, we work with almost 1000 South Australians with disability across education, supported and open employment, supported independent living, support coordination, day options, mentoring and Positive Behaviour Support.

David Green, Business Development Manager at Barkuma, is proud of the Barkuma difference.

“We lead the industry with our supervisor-to-staff ratios, which ensure productivity and safety. Matching the best interests of our commercial customers with the best interests of our clients is the Barkuma difference.”

Not-for-Profit Purpose

Barkuma is a not-for-profit organisation; our primary objective is to serve the community.

Simon explains, “We don’t have shareholders, so we don’t need to return any dividends. We reinvest any surpluses back into the business to enhance services and support. We don’t put profit over purpose – our clients are at the forefront of everything we do.

We are a trusted partner

Barkuma is known for its good services and international accreditations, showing their dedication to being excellent.

Simon explains the importance of accreditation:

“We have a range of accreditations, including the ISO 9001 certification, to prove our worth to business and funders. There’s a range of accreditations specific to our commercial services arrangements, such as HACCP, allowing us to enter into the Food SA Producers Awards and do a range of work for South Australian-based food producers.

With, not for

“Our person-centred developmental approach involves starting with individuals at their current level, valuing their contributions, and working positively to add value and foster self-worth by teaching them skills they can retain for life—a philosophy we term ‘do with, not for,” explains Simon.

He continues, “We’re a diverse business that can provide you with a clearly defined pathway, from your final year of schooling to school-leaver support, further education, supported and open employment. We are here for you every step of the way with support that is tailored to your needs.”

NDIS Registration

We are a registered provider for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) in South Australia. This shows our commitment to meeting high standards. Barkuma supports a tiered registration process that follows NDIS review suggestions and focuses on ensuring client safety.

Adaptability and Innovation

Barkuma’s flexibility sets it apart from others in adapting to change. “Our flexibility in developing solutions tailored to individual needs sets us apart. While financial constraints may sometimes limit innovation, Barkuma actively engages with the government to improve understanding and support for its programs,” explains Simon.

The Barkuma differences are a reflection of our deep-rooted commitment to inclusivity, innovation and individual empowerment. As a trusted and experienced partner in disability services, we are proud to continue to make a significant impact on the lives of individuals in South Australia, fostering a sense of belonging and independence.

Barkuma provide support to hundreds of people across South Australia, offering a number of services to people with disability such as;

You can reach us via our online contact form, or by calling (08) 8414 7100, or emailing us at