Support our Community Partners: Gunawirra

Image courtesy of Gunawirra, 2020.

We are very excited to introduce you to Gunawirra, one of our incredible community partners. Gunawirra is a non-for-profit organisation that helps Indigenous mothers and children deal with trauma. Through their core vision “prevention through early intervention,” Gunawirra aims to help families break the cycle of domestic violence and substance abuse. Gunawirra applies their vision by incorporating a number of therapeutic techniques into their programs, including art therapy. Currently, Gunawirra is seeking donations to assist in the funding of their weekly Art Therapist. It would be absolutely wonderful if you could help support this essential program through donating here.

At Yarn, we value the power that art and culture has in the process of healing, educating and bringing people together. Gunawirra’s programs align with this value, which is why we have chosen to support them in a number of ways. We support them through marketing (via our social media, blog and newsletter platforms), as well as our Young Artists Competition where 100% of the sales from our “The Ritjinguthinha” polos (by talented young Indigenous artist Jaeve) will be donated to Gunawirra (alongside our other community partners Nutrition Plus and ALNF). Yarn also donates art supplies to Gunawirra’s Young Aboriginal Mothers Group (YAMP).

Art Therapy at YAMP. Image courtesy of Gunawirra, 2021.

“Gunawirra feels privileged to have the opportunity to partner with Yarn. This beneficial partnership will aspire to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, mothers, families and communities.This significant partnership is built on respect, values and the commitment needed to pave the way for a brighter future for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Our journey together will shine brightly and it will be one that will be admired right across the nation.” - Graham Toomey, Gunawirra CEO

Gunawirra runs all of their programs through Gunawirra House Rozelle, Sydney. Their key programs include the Young Aboriginal Mothers Program (YAMP), Preschool Programs, Journey to Learning and Teacher Support and Training. The Mothers Group is an early intervention service for Indigenous mothers from pregnancy through to their child starting school. It was created in response to the need for mothers and their babies to be supported in building stronger, safer and healthier relationships. This program has a number of elements including speech therapy, women’s business, a healthy cooking program, and as talked about earlier art therapy. The women’s business component is particularly important as Gunawirra helps Indigenous women to connect to their cultural practices. This is done through story, art mindfulness, movement, dance, healing circles and meditation.

Image courtesy of Gunawirra, 2020.

Gunawirra’s preschool programs encourage the healing of young ones through imagination and play. The programs are based in remote and regional areas of NSW. Gunawirra helps provide emotional, cultural and health support to children within preschool communities. This is done through sharing stories about Aboriginal culture, the Dreaming, elders and Indigenous art and storytelling. They take a holistic approach to helping these young children deal with trauma.

Gunawirra’s Journey to Learning Program aims to provide pre-primary and primary school children and educators with a sound knowledge in Indigenous art and culture. They build cultural awareness through creativity, imagination and fun. This is done through sessions that they run at schools and cultural boxes that they provide educators. These allow teachers to confidently include culturally appropriate activities in the classroom. The Journey to Learning Programs are a 2hr session run during school hours. With the children a number of different elements are explored including Dreamtime stories, traditional tools, connection and belonging to land, totems and First Nation peoples’ spirituality. The programs are always developed in consultation and agreement with an Indigenous elder that is associated with the school or community.

Gunawirra’s vision is for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to be connected and proud of their spiritual core and cultural base. Gunawirra makes a huge difference in the lives of Indigenous families through empowering them to reach their full potential.

You can find out more about Gunawirra and their amazing work here.