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A unique Aboriginal initiative in Victoria is helping break the cycle of addiction and despair by combining indigenous spirituality with conventional treatment.
The healing program is a partnership between Western medicine and Aboriginal culture, and is run by the Western Suburbs Indigenous Gathering Place Association in western Victoria. Participants connect with their Aboriginality and spirituality in men's and women's circles, as well as being given access to conventional medical services and counselling. The aim is to help participants become employable.
Colleen Marion founded the Western Suburbs Indigenous Gathering Place Association in 2002. Marion had worked for decades in Aboriginal affairs and was frustrated that so many of her people were still destitute. Two years ago, fearing time was running out for some of them, she discussed the matter with a local Elder, Reg Blow, and The healing program was born. 'Without it, some of them would be dead now,' Marion says.
But even she wasn't prepared for the level of progress the program would achieve for some people. 'I said of one of our clients, "Throw away the key and lock her up forever". She's proven me wrong.'
Source: The Age
Western Suburbs Indigenous Gathering Place Association
200 Rosamond Road
Maribyrnong Vic 3032
PO Box 296
Braybrook North Vic 3019
Ph: (03) 9318 7855
Fax: (03) 9318 7866