New Healing the Spirit Resource Kit created by Warlpiri women

NT Government

4 July 2023

A group of senior Warlpiri women from the desert community of Yuendumu in Central Australia have created a resource kit designed to support families and young people.

Marlpa Jungu Jintangka (MJJ) is the local Warlpiri Early Childhood Reference Group for the Yuendumu community, and they have coordinated the production of the Pirlirrpa Ngurrju-Maninjaku Healing the Spirit Resource Kit.

“We started this work so we can watch over children and better understand how they grow. We want to take care of children and understand how their brains develop,” MMJ member and Assistant Principal Yuendumu School Yamurna Oldfield said.

Some children, teenagers and adults in remote communities are experiencing trauma because of recurrent exposure to issues like domestic and community violence, addiction, unstable mental health, overcrowding, poverty, and generational trauma.

“We learned how trauma can have negative affects on the brain, and the child’s life. These resources that we have made, have made us strong. We now feel knowledgeable and really happy,” Ms Oldfeld said.

MJJ identified that early childhood trauma affects people’s lives, their ability to learn, have strong relationships and be happy. They wanted to teach their communities about trauma and healing from trauma in order to make their spirits strong.

The resources include a Warlpiri meditation; a ‘Strong Brain Game’ board to explain neurodevelopment, trauma and healing; feelings cards in the Warlpiri and English; a story book about brain development and a Walpiri meditation on USB, as well as written and video training materials.

The resource kit has been developed for relevant services and local workers to use with families to talk about trauma and healing and will be distributed to Warlpiri communities and organisations.

“We are doing this work for children, teenagers and adults. We want them to know their feelings, and talk about their experiences,” MMJ member and Aboriginal Engagement Officer with Yurrampi Child and Family Centre Belinda Wayne said.

“We want parents, and the whole community, to understand about trauma, and how to bring up our kids with strong spirit. We need to look after our young people,” she said.

MJJ has worked with the Yurrumpi Child and Family Centre, Yuendumu School, Elders in the community, Australian Childhood Foundation, Warlpiri Youth Aboriginal Development Corporation, Warlpiri Education and Training Trust, PAW Media, the NPY Women’s Council and Innovative Resources to develop these resources.

Marlpa Jungu Jintangka (MJJ) is the cultural and community advisory group of the Yurrampi Child and Family Centre (CFC) in Yuendumu.

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