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Ngarrwa is a young mothers' program, which uses the arts as a point of engagement for the young mums. In the workshops belly casts of the pregnant women and hand casts of their partners and children are made and painted, health workers are also in attendance and participate in the workshops, building relationships with the young mums and conveying essential information in an informal and relaxed environment. Representatives of various service organisations attend Ngarrwa on a regular basis providing the young mums and their families with a range of information, tools and support to assist them in navigating their way out of disadvantage. The Ngarrwa program has been implemented in Bowraville, NSW. The team have developed significant community partnerships and relationships with the young mothers living on the Mission in Bowraville. The combined model now encompasses ante-natal to childhood life stages and parenting competence. The project focuses initially on the re-engagement of young mothers, their babies and young children via arts based workshops that focus on the building of health outcomes, relationships and participation in the life of the community. Subsequently the focus will shift to a more holistic place-based approach, working from antenatal life stage through to early adulthood, over a long and focused timeframe, which will enable the relationship qualities developed in the first year to be identified and to spread beyond the sphere of our initial project's influence. An extended timeframe and holistic approach will share the benefits across all sectors in the community, thereby increasing community and individual wellbeing and begin the process of redressing the disadvantage embedded in these communities. In order to disrupt the cycles of entrenched intergenerational disadvantage, the participation and collaboration of parents, grandparents and the broader community is essential.
Abstract adapted from Beyond Empathy
Beyond Empathy Ltd
PO Box 844
Armidale NSW 2350