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Working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

Red Cross is guided by and accountable to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, communities and organisations we work with.

Taria Warren plays with Ty’eisha Taylor at the Port Augusta Early Parenting Centre in South Australia where Red Cross works in the areas of children’s first aid, nutrition education and wellbeing for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The Centre is run in partnership with Port Augusta Hospital and Pikiwiya Aboriginal Health Service. (Read More) Australian Red Cross/Wayne Quilliam

Red Cross is increasing work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples by supporting individuals, families and communities to determine and lead their own solutions to achieve positive change. Currently, a range of programs are being run across Australia that work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, including Healthy Baby, Healthy Community; Food Security; RespectED family and community safety and the save-a-mate (SAM) Our Way programs.

Addressing violence and abuse

RespectED is a prevention and education program that supports communities to address violence and abuse. Three learning modules have been adapted from the Canadian Red Cross program. Local Red Cross staff will present workshops of these modules in Ceduna and Port Augusta in South Australia and Tennant Creek in Northern Territory, seeking feedback and endorsement from Local Advisory Groups, other community members, Aboriginal Community Councils, local Shire Councils and other stakeholders.

Caroline Dangarri Dhurrkay and her son David Garrawurra prepare food in the Healthy Baby, Healthy Community Hub, which is run in partnership with Miwatj Health Aboriginal Corporation. The aim is to reduce the rates of malnutrition and anaemia in the Aboriginal children of Galiwin’ku on Elcho Island by establishing integrated clinical services to provide coordinated, effective outreach to families. Australian Red Cross/Sarah Martin

Continuing commitment

Red Cross partners with young people in remote and regional Aboriginal communities to help strengthen their capacity to identify the problems and risk factors affecting them and find relevant and sustainable solutions that they can lead themselves. SAM Our Way is a program that aims to improve the social and emotional wellbeing of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples with a focus on depression, anxiety, violence, and alcohol and other drug problems. Having commenced with the support of beyondblue in early 2009, by 2012 it was operating in 14 communities across South Australia, Western Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory.

Innovative food projects

A project undertaken in Kempsey, NSW, produced a food security map and needs analysis to underpin planning, funding applications and advocacy work. Geographical mapping of fresh food, take-away outlets and liquor outlets in relation to indices of socio-economic disadvantage, combined with public transport routes, highlighted large areas with very limited access to healthy food. This data is now being used to plan for a range of appropriate options that are supported by the community. A food education project was successfully implemented in consultation with, and with hands-on input from, remote community members in Ceduna and Port Augusta, South Australia. Recipe cards were developed for seven affordable, nutritious meals for families of four to eight people, which are culturally appropriate and can be cooked with available equipment.

At the end of June, there were 90 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff employed by Australian Red Cross.

Currently, 3.5% of our workforce is made up of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people – over halfway to our target of 6% by 2015.

Presently Red Cross is working with more than 140 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.