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GIVIT launches First Nations Health & Wellbeing Support Program

You can help provide better health and wellbeing for First Nations Australians in remote areas

GIVIT has launched a new program to help First Nations Australians living in remote communities. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders have lower life expectancies, higher rates of chronic and preventable illnesses, and a higher likelihood of being hospitalised than non-Indigenous Australians¹. 1 in 5 Indigenous Australians live in remote or very remote areas, compared to just 1.7% of non-Indigenous Australians². Studies show that people living in remote or very remote areas have, on average, poorer access to health services, and worse health than people living in regional or metropolitan areas³.

GIVIT has seen an increase in requests to support First Nations Australians, and has received funding from Queensland Health to run a First Nations Health and Wellbeing Support Program pilot in the remote communities of Wujal Wujal, Yarrabah and Doomadgee. This funding does not cover the actual provision of essential items and services. Your generous donation will allow us to get exactly what's needed to First Nations Australians doing it tough.

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Wujal Wujal devastated by flooding

In December 2023, the Far North Queensland town of Wujal Wujal was inundated by devastating flooding caused by Ex-Tropical Cyclone Jasper. Most of the town was evacuated, and many residents are still living in temporary accommodation in Cairns and Cooktown.

Three young female students from Bloomfield River State School with their donated laptops from GIVIT and a female teacherWith the region's school, Bloomfield River State School, damaged by floods, a temporary school is operating out of Cooktown PCYC to cater for displaced students.

GIVIT provided 10 laptops to help these brave kids with their learning in unfamiliar surroundings.

Program Officer Kim said "thank you again for the laptops. I delivered to the Bloomfield students based at the PCYC... They were all extremely excited, especially with the upcoming NAPLAN testing."

GIVIT is working with organisations across Wujal Wujal, Cooktown and Cairns to get families living in temporary accommodation the essential items and services they need to help them through extremely difficult circumstances while they wait to return to their homes.

By donating, you're helping GIVIT to purchase items and services for Wujal Wujal residents who've been evacuated, as well as furniture and whitegoods for when they can finally return home.

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Below are images of GIVIT Engagement Officers Temiah and Christina meeting with disaster recovery staff in Wujal Wujal (left), surveying the damage in the community (middle), and damage at the Bana Yirriji Art and Cultural Centre (right).

Why remote Aboriginal communities need your help

Like most Australians, First Nations Peoples living in regional Australia are experiencing cost of living pressures. Recent natural disasters have exacerbated these pressures in communities such as Wujal Wujal and Yarrabah.

Educational attainment is another barrier facing Indigenous Australians living remotely. Access to quality education facilities and resources, and cultural relevance and language barriers are all hurdles for First Nations Students trying to complete their schooling.

In 2021, the proportion if Indigenous Australians aged 20-24 who had completed year 12 or equivalent decreased with the remoteness of the location: from 76% in major cities, to 55% in remote areas, to 42% in very remote areas⁴.

Many Aboriginal communities in regional and remote areas face a severe shortage of adequate housing. This means existing housing is often overcrowded, which can increase the spread of illness and disease.

For those in regional and remote areas who are struggling, help can be hard to access. Health and support services can be unavailable or unaffordable.

GIVIT is working with support organisations across Wujal Wujal, Doomadgee and Yarrabah to provide essential items and services to residents to help combat some of the issues above. A laptop or tablet can help a grade 12 student complete their schooling, and new bedding and hygiene products can help reduce the spread of sickness within households.

Your generous donations will enable us to keep helping.

How GIVIT is helping Indigenous communities

Some of the items and services GIVIT aims to provide as part of this program to enhance health and wellbeing outcomes for First Nations Peoples include:

  • Grocery and pharmacy vouchers
  • Digital devices and educational items
  • Disability aids and specialist dental and medical services
  • Baby and children's items
  • Whitegoods and appliances such as fridges, washing machines and air conditioning
  • Household furniture including beds and mattresses
  • Personal care and hygiene items
  • Towels, linen and clothing
  • Kitchen and cooking items
  • Sporting equipment including uniforms, boots and protective equipment
  • Recreational items such as fishing gear, craft supplies, bikes and helmets
  • Hardware and building materials.

We can only provide these essential items and services with donations from our generous supporters. Can you help?

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Helping a brave Aunty in Yarrabah

In Yarrabah, an Aboriginal community 50 minutes' east of Cairns, an Aunty is caring for 8 children aged 5-15 due to domestic violence. During Tropical Cyclone Jasper in December, this family was without power for an extended period, and a power surge damaged their whitegoods and appliances.

GIVIT provided a new fridge/freezer, washing machine, microwave, toaster and kettle. With the family struggling financially, GIVIT also provided groceries to refill the fridge, Christmas presents for the children, and supplied their school booklists for the new school year.

Your generosity will allow GIVIT to keep helping First Nations families who are struggling.

On a recent trip to Far North Queensland, GIVIT Engagement Officers (pictured, left) and Christina met with Yarrabah Aboriginal Councl CEO Richard Wright (pictured, right) to discuss how GIVIT can work with local support services to help residents in Yarrabah.

Support for First Nations teens far from home

Photo frames doanted from GIVIT for an art classCowboys House is a unique, culturally safe boarding facility for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and women attending schools in Townsville. The initiative aims to remove distance as a barrier to quality secondary education for Indigenous students from some of Australia's most remote and geographically disadvantaged communities. 

One student living at Cowboys House is a young man from Doomadgee attending high school 1,200 kilometres from his family in Townsville. GIVIT provided art supplies including frames, canvases, paint and paint brushes for the boy and his friends to partipate in art classes for the new school year.

The frames in the image to the right were decorated by the students, and inside them they displayed a happy memory from home.

Support Officer Cayley said "[Our students] miss their lived ones and familiar surrounds so any of the necessities and resources that we can source for them takes a little of the strain off the students and their families."

Donate to help Indigenous communities

GIVIT works with organisations and charities around Australia to support First Nations Australians. By donating to to the First Nations Health and Wellbeing Support Program, you're enabling GIVIT to provide crucial, practical assistance to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples doing it tough in the discrete Indigenous communities of Wujal Wujal, Yarrabah and Doomadgee.

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