Indigenous conference stepping stone to stronger future
|Jenny Ebsworth (third from right) with fellow members of the Aboriginal Catholic Social Services Team.|
The Aboriginal Catholic Social Services (ACCS) Team has returned from last week’s 9th World Indigenous Women & Wellness Conference in Darwin with a renewed spirit of kinship to put into practice in its work with the Indigenous community of Western Sydney.
Themed ‘For The Generations To Come’, the 22-to-25 August conference brought together Indigenous representatives from across the globe to share their wisdom and stories while exploring ways to motivate healthful and positive life changes, engage with contemporary issues, support strong female leadership and build Indigenous relationships internationally.
ACCS (a part of Centacare Catholic Social Services – Diocese of Parramatta) won a seat at the table at the conference via a heartfelt submission from team member Jenny Ebsworth. While her successful submission initially secured Jenny’s place at the conference, subsequent sponsorship from Caritas Australia allowed five other members of the ACCS team to attend: Janice Kennedy, Janice Brown, Daisy Barker, Rhonda Randall and Margaret Farrell.
“It was amazing to listen to the experiences of other Indigenous cultures from around the world, as well as from Aboriginal people from other parts of Australia,” Jenny said. “For ACSS, the conference was another important stepping stone along the path we’re taking here, to improve the welfare of the local community.
“There are so many similarities in the histories of Indigenous peoples the world over. It’s so important that all cultures share our stories because we are all part of the one humanity. We learn from each other and support each other.”
Jenny said of particular interest at the conference was a session on successful Grandparent programs which are running in Africa, South America, the United States and Canada. Jenny has been involved in the establishment of a Grandparents and Kinship Group at ACSS.
“I think this is one area of our work that we can really step up and get more people in the local community involved,” Jenny said. “Grandparents have such an important role to play in creating strong families. Having the influence a grandparent offering guidance and support can make a positive difference in the life choices made by family members, especially young people.”
Jenny said the most important lesson from the conference was that true leadership is shown through example.
“In our culture and others around the world, we see a history of Indigenous people - both men and women - being disempowered,” Jenny said. “Through that loss of power comes a loss of respect. As well as providing support and guidance, I think the most important thing we can do at ACSS is to live and lead by example: showing others that the way forward is through showing respect for one another.”
Go to Aboriginal Catholic Social Services
Related:Submission from the heart gets ACSS a start at world Indigenous conference
Sponsored by the Australian Government’s Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs and hosted by the The Larrakia Nation Aboriginal Corporation in the Northern Territory, the 9th World Indigenous Women & Wellness Conference brought together Indigenous Australians with Indigenous people from countries and regions such as New Zealand, Africa, North America and South America.
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