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WIZO pamper packs bring joy to indigenous women

Nina Richwol
Wizo Victoria
Public Affairs

The women said “It was good not being scared to do the concert when we weren’t drunk or stoned. We felt people there have a better understanding of what we are going through and what we feel”.

The men said “We did not look down on you. There was no violence. Instead we think you saw (our) love, hope, respect, honesty (and) care”.

These words were spoken by men and women at the Winja Ulupna Women’s Recovery Hostel Christmas party. Standing in the sunny backyard it seemed strange to hear serious words spoken at what is usually a get together with lots of laughter and relief that another hard year is coming to an end.

But, these serious words were important words. They were reflections about the Butterfly Concert performed by men and women of Ngwala Willumbong Co-operative that helps indigenous people get over drug and alcohol problems.

A group of about twenty men and women stood behind a microphone. They looked out onto the big crowd and nervously read from their script. The guests stood hushed, almost mesmerised, feeling that something powerful about to happen.

A young woman spoke. She said that workshops at Winja Ulupna had changed her life. She told us how the workshops allowed the men to talk about their feelings and that talking is a sign of strength. Then men spoke about their respect for the women of Winja Ulupna. They spoke of the women’s resilience in the face of family violence and that they want to stop drinking, breaking promises and losing control. We were gripped by the quietly spoken statements and the sincere expressions of pain and personal growth.

After the readings Aunty Bea Edwards, manager of Winja Ulupna hostel thanked supporters. Bea spoke about her gratitude to WIZO for our Mother’s Day and Christmas pamper packs. She said that our packs are beautiful, generous and brought real joy to the clients and staff at Winja.

WIZO members at the party smiled at each other filled with pride at the thought that in a our small way WIZO Victoria, that’s you dear members, are helping Winja Ulupna empower men and women to prevent violence and resist addiction. Now, that’s a Christmas gift we can be proud of!

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