The Walkabout Chef Project

The Foundation works to improve the life chances and choices of Indigenous Australians through improving their health.

How we work to improve Indigenous health in Australia

There is an alarming disparity between the health and wellbeing of Indigenous Australians and other Australians.

In many Indigenous communities across Australia, levels of poverty are comparable to those in some developing countries, with the life expectancy of Indigenous Australians 10 years less than that of all Australians. The mortality rate of Australia’s Indigenous infants is comparable to those of some developing countries.

Indigenous Australians have fewer opportunities to maintain and improve their health and life situation than non-Indigenous Australians. They do not have the same access to employment, housing, medical services and education, nor are they equally engaged in our social and political systems.

Those who live in remote and isolated areas suffer the greatest disadvantage.

While there have been some improvements to Indigenous health over recent years, the disparity remains. It needn’t be this way and it has to change.

The Fred Hollows Foundation takes a comprehensive approach to improving the health and life opportunities of Indigenous people. Our work with Indigenous communities is the legacy of the late Professor Fred Hollows, who was committed to helping Indigenous Australians.

The Foundation’s Indigenous Program has a major focus on communities in the Katherine region of the Northern Territory, among the most remote of communities in Australia. These communities are distant from health and education services, have fewer employment opportunities and because the cost of living can be so high, it is impossible for people on low incomes to afford a nutritious diet.

We work through partnerships with Indigenous organisations including traditional owners’ associations, Indigenous managed health services and women’s and community centres. Using a partnership approach it aims to empower the communities to realise their own successes. It sees itself as a resource for partners, so they have the tools to do the work they have identified as priorities.

Our achievements

Together with our Indigenous partners, The Foundation has made strong in-roads to improving the health of people in the communities with which we work.

We have achieved many results throughout the various projects, that together, are improving the overall well-being of the communities. These have included:

  • The Central Australian Integrated Eye Health Program, restoring vision to hundreds of Indigenous people from remote communities during week-long intensive surgery sessions conducted at Alice Springs Hospital. The Foundation works in partnership with a number of government, non-government, and local organisations on this project.
  • Through the Community Stores Project, management of the local grocery stores was returned to the Indigenous communities. Retail management training was provided to local store managers and improvements were made to the supply, storage and sale of fresh and nutritious foods within the communities.Following lobbying by The Foundation, the Northern Territory Department of Education, Employment and Training provided one million dollars in funding and a new school was built in the community of Manyallaluk, NT. Previously, students were making a 120 kilometre round trip to attend school at another community.
  • Secured funding for a new Community Resource Centre at Wugularr, east of Katherine in the Northern Territory. Located near the local school, the centre will provide new literacy and computer resources for the whole community.
  • Implemented the Money $tory financial literacy training program in Indigenous communities to assist in community management and governance.
  • Assisted a local women’s centre to establish a program that provides a nutritious breakfast to school children.
  • Provided books and other literacy learning materials to schools and students.
  • Supported performances and workshops by Indigenous musicians and artists to re-engage Indigenous youth in learning and literacy.
  • Sponsored local young people to attend the Outback Chef cooking course.
  • Trained local people in management and governance skills.

For more information visit the project’s site.

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