9 September 2018
OzChild’s Disability Services first Social and Emotional Wellbeing Intervention for Aboriginal children in the Southern Region has been a great success for the seven Aboriginal children, aged between 6-12 years attending.
The program, which involved two after school activities and a NADIOC weekend camp was designed and facilitated in partnership with the Willum Warrain Aboriginal Association and in consultation with the children’s families. The two afterschool workshops were held at Willum Warrian Hastings, and the weekend NAIDOC camp was held at Camp Manyung in Mt Eliza.
The first afterschool workshop took place in late June. Aboriginal Elder, Peter from Willum Warrain, welcomed children, families and staff with a traditional smoking ceremony. For some of those present it was their first experience and it was amazing. None of the children knew each other however; they bonded and became friends almost immediately around the smoking ceremony.
The children started exploring the grounds and were fascinated by the big hut made out of sticks by the Willum Warrain community.
Peter talked about the Aboriginal culture and showed the children a short clip about Bunjil the spiritual creator and Waa the Crow. The children already had some knowledge about their culture but were interested in learning so much more. All the children were eager to share their own stories, even the quiet ones. They were very proud of their history and the connection they had.
As part of the program, the children learnt to use clapping sticks and a song they would sing to their parents and carers on the upcoming NADIOC weekend camp.
At the second afterschool workshop the children celebrated the NAIDOC week theme ‘Because of Her We Can’. Children were asked to match pictures of famous Aboriginal women with their correct names, then talk about each of their achievements and contribution to the aboriginal culture and community.
The children had the opportunity to hold a Possum Cloak and learn about its importance. They were also very excited to explore the Aboriginal weapons, spears, clubs, shields and boomerangs and learn about how they were used. The boys had a go at playing the Didgeridoo, but it wasn’t as easy as they thought it would be.
The children were all very excited to catch up with each other again at the Manyung Camp.
There were so many great activities for the children to participate in including the flying fox, tree surfing, a traditional camp fire where they got to toast marshmallows and walk around Devil Bend Reserve.
During the walk leaves, twigs and feathers were collected for a Rainbow Serpent artwork.
Back in camp Rainbow Serpent artwork was decorated with the leaves, twigs and feathers collected during the walk. The children also did some dot painting on their boomerangs.
Peter from Willum Warrain returned on the final day to talk about bush tucker and show everyone how many plants around the camp site were edible. He even showed the children how to get chewing gum from the tree.
The children were also shown how a to use a bottlebrush plant to brush their hair and clean their clothes, and how to weave a basket.
The camp ended with afternoon tea to which parents and carers were also invited. Peter lead the children in singing the song they had learnt at the second workshop and playing their clapping sticks. Parents joined in, it was a unique experience.
The children can’t wait for the next camp. It was a positive and rewarding experience for all.
Until next time…..