ABORIGINAL health and welfare organisation, Waminda has won the 2012 regional NAIDOC award for Aboriginal organisation of the year, capping off a highly successful 12 months for the centre.
The award covers the Wollongong, Shellharbour, Kiama, Shoalhaven and Wingecarribee areas.
“We didn’t even realise we had
won, let alone been nominated,” said Waminda board treasurer Melissa Wellington.
Waminda chairwoman Aunty Gail Wallace had nominated the centre for the award.
Ms Wellington said the entire
team was thrilled to have been acknowledged.
“Our ladies work so hard without recognition. When we won, it was like a pat on the back for everyone. To be recognised is a great feat for them,” she said.
Waminda staffers Lynn Wellington and Kelly Jones accepted the award from actress Deborah Mailman at the Shellharbour Workers Club on behalf of the organisation.
In addition, articles about Waminda’s successful Mums and Bubs and Wellbeing program were published in the Aboriginal Health Worker Journal.
The health centre’s successful
year doesn’t end there though – throughout 2012 five of Waminda’s Aboriginal staff graduated from
Krissy Falzon and Lisa Wellington both finished degrees in Aboriginal health from University of Sydney, while Angie Lonesborough finished a Certificate IV in Aboriginal Family Violence.
Hayley Longbottom gained a Certificate III in Aboriginal Primary Health Care and Jessica Stewart
finished a Certificate III/IV in
Waminda came about because of the need for access to culturally safe and secure health and welfare services for Aboriginal women and their families in the Shoalhaven.
It was established in 1984 as Jilimi: the Shoalhaven Women’s Health and Resource Corporation with funding for the organisation provided by the Department of Health.
During the 1990s Jilimi’s incorporation status changed, as did the name, to Waminda, which has continued to provide services for Aboriginal women, children and their families since.
The organisation provides numerous services including a health
program, a mental health respite service, playgroup, social and emotional wellbeing programs, domestic violence programs, drug and alcohol support, young people mentoring and more.
Ms Wellington said Waminda was striving to close the gap in the
community and, “to make a difference and be at the forefront in educating and employing our local Aboriginal women to show leadership in our community”.
“We also strive to listen to the needs of our community and to model services around their needs rather than provide a service that may not be relevant to our community,” she said.