Indigenous health festival has positive impact

Indigenous health festival has positive impact

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Mata Ioane, Danikka Calyon, Kameesha Anderson, Chloe Calyon and Sheannon Smith helped organise the successful Waakal Moort Kaadadjiny festival on October 24 at Gwynne Park. Photograph - Aaron Van Rongen.

A festival aiming to bridge the disconnect between health and employment providers and the Indigenous community was a huge success last week as more than 500 people attended the inaugural event. 

The Waakal Moort Kaadadjiny festival, which means Rainbow Serpent Family Learning, was held at Gwynne Park on October 24 after a gruelling 18 months of planning and consultation with service providers and community members. 

Ambassador Wayne Ryder, project manager Rozy Bynder, Aboriginal community worker Josie Ford and headspace Armadale manager Annette Chivers recognised the need for such an event after they heard that there had been a spate of Indigenous suicides in the Armadale area. 

Mr Ryder said events like this were important for Aboriginal people as it gave them a place to come together to support and encourage each other to access services and programs. 

“Community members were given a passport and stallholders were given stickers and the members had to engage with the service providers to collect stickers,” he said. 

“10 stickers gave you access to the activities area and 15 stickers to the food and if all stickers were collected and the feedback form was filled out, they were able to enter the draw to win one of the prizes.”

Ms Bynder said the working group hoped to deliver the festival as a yearly event for the Armadale community, as well as provide a day tour to other areas of Perth some time in the near future.

“Service providers were happy to have somewhere they could interact with community members and community members were happy they could engage with service providers in a comfortable setting,” she said.

“It was a fantastic community event and we hope all benefitted from it and took something positive and useful way.”

If you or someone you know needs immediate assistance or support call Lifeline on 13 11 14. 

For more information about depression call Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636, visit the Beyond Blue website or talk to your local GP, local health professional or someone you trust. 

Photographs — Aaron Van Rongen.