It was an awe inspiring sight to see the entire room standing holding hands and swaying in time with Geoffrey Yunipingu's moving music at a recent conference in Darwin. The conference – World Indigenous Women's Health and Wellbeing was held in Darwin last year inviting guests from across the globe to share their stories, challenges and future hopes to an audience of like minded practitioners and community members. The conference was hosted by the Larrakia Nation and was designed to generate considerable intellectual dialogue and debate, as well as create opportunities to strengthen existing networks and forge new ones.
YFER attended this conference in several capacities, presentation, and exhibit as delegates. It proved to be a brilliant opportunity to showcase to others the beginnings of YFER's approach to holding 'cross cultural education for our future families'. The presentation highlighted, showed images and told stories about recent activities in Nhulunbuy NT which involved the joining of Indigenous and non Indigenous generations to share both evidence based education and cultural based education about pregnancy and Birth. Representatives of each group then traveled to the conference to share their experience including 2 year 9 girls from the high school. The prospect of presenting at a world conference was somewhat daunting for these two as it was for Frances Yunipingu and Aboriginal health worker from Miwatj Aboriginal Health corp, but all rose gallantly to the occasion and delivered valuable inspirational words to the group. The moment above though, came as Djapirri Munungurritji from Yirrkala** spoke to the group of approx 130 delegates about the wisdom and strength women can share between generations and cultures, and how it can be a powerful tool of reconciliation and hope for a brighter stronger outlook for our future parenting communities.
YFER is now planning more activities of a similar nature for other communities throughout Australia.
** Djapirri was the recent winner of NT Australian of the Year – Local hero category.