Words: Monica Brown. Pics: Anna Ryan.
Our SWL Boardroom Series lunch was held in the delightful Gardens House in Melbourne's Royal Botanic Gardens. A huge thank you to Hatem Saleh founder, CEO and Managing Director of the Atlantic Group, who generously provided an exquisite lunch in a beautiful hidden National Trust location. Hatem gave an honest and insightful opening address inviting us to hear a very personal account of what it's like to lead a large business in good times and bad.
Anita Pahor, our chairperson, explained the story of SWL, our value systems, our vision, the meaning of a giving circle and how they operate around the world. She spoke of the multiple Red Cross projects we support nationwide and internationally, inspiring and reconnecting all of us in the room.
Then for members new, old and potential, we listened and drank in the stories from key speakers Bronwyn and Paul from Kwinana in WA. Both speakers had travelled from community located miles outside of Perth to tell us why their project exists and how they have used our funds. In a world of displacement and isolation, they explained the complexity of the unique challenges faced by their community.
With clarity and gentleness, they told the Australian aboriginal story from pre-colonisation to the present day. With that knowledge firmly implanted in our minds, we then heard of the beautiful intergenerational healing projects at Kwinana. We discovered the many ways they have supported those lost and struggling in the darkness of their own confused and isolated identity. They spoke of energy healing and extended an invitation for us all to join them next year in Kwinana, to experience first hand the profound shift of energy such cultural healing can present in our own lives.
Our world is going through a tough time and we are facing not only changes in global power, economy and climate but in our personal development. Listening to the gentle, loving healing steps being taken by those at Kwinana, I know that to heal one person is to save a community. There has never been a better time to connect with the elders of the oldest culture on this land we all share. That's the beauty of a giving circle; when you give, sometimes it gives right back.
So I take this word reconciliation, and I use it to reconcile people back to Mother Earth, so they can walk this land together and heal one another because she's the one that gives birth to everything we see around us, everything we need to survive.
— Max Dulumunmun Harrison