On October 8th, kinship carers, the children they care for, Territory Families’ staff who brought along children who come from Tiwi and the Minbani Bebe Team headed across to harbour to the Tiwi Islands for a day of eating, dancing, singing and connecting with culture.
The day was designed to be fun explains Pam Marwood, the Program Manager. “So often when kids in care return to country, it’s for funerals. We wanted to create a day that was fun and gave kids an opportunity to connect with culture in a relaxed and fun setting”.
The day was also a way to bring kinship carers together and thank them for their commitment to the children they care for. “Carers work hard. It’s a big job to take on the care of children so we wanted to show support for them and acknowledge the hard work they do”.
The Wungutunga women from Tiwi showed incredible hospitality entertaining the group with song, dance and face painting. “All the carers and kids had a fabulous day. There were about 50 of us who sang and ate and danced, had a swim in the pool and got back on the boat”.
Minbani Bebe has a program on Tiwi so it was also a great opportunity for Minbani Bebe to spread awareness about the program to the Tiwi people.
The trip wouldn’t have been possible without the help and support from Sealink who were amazing in helping everyone get to Tiwi. “They sponsored all the kid’s tickets and 50% of the price of the adult tickets. They were very generous and helped make the day a success”.
Territory Families also contributed funds and Minbani Bebe raised the rest through a Deckchair Cinema fundraiser earlier in the year.
“It takes a lot of effort to pull off a day like this, and we were thankful for all the people who supported us”.
Connecting to culture
The Minbani Bebe program acknowledges the necessity of access to family, kin and culture for Aboriginal children in care and so the day was also about connecting kids with culture even if it is a different Aboriginal culture to their own. “It was important the day was about culture, and creating opportunities to connect with culture” says Pam.
Similar days in the future
Minbani Bebe believe the day was a total success and would like to do something similar each year. Territory Families have also expressed an interested in doing something similar to allow children in care to connect with their communities in a fun way.