Baabayn Aboriginal Corporation Team
We Aboriginal Elders founded Baabayn because we believe that by providing a place of healing, where Aboriginal people connect with culture and have a strong sense of belonging we will be able to recover from past traumas, regain our self-esteem and realise our potential.
DAISY BARKER (Director)
Baabayn is all about community. Our organisation wouldn’t be strong without community supporting us. We survive by making everyone welcome and showing respect and care for each other. Every year we get stronger and stronger. Everyone likes coming to our groups because it’s a place where you can relax. People respect you here and no-one judges you. No matter who you are or what you do, you are welcome and there is no judgement.
We have a Young Mums’ Group, a Family Group and a Homework Club. I love the Homework Club, and I love to see the kids push forward to get their education because I didn’t have much education. I would like to see them go right through to Year 12 with pride and dignity and even then support them to achieve their goals whatever they are.
JENNY EBSWORTH (Director)
Hi, I’m Jenny Ebsworth. Much has been going on and I feel that we are going on in leaps and bounds. Our Home/work Club is going from strength to strength. Our volunteer tutors are fabulous in their mentoring and encouragement of our kids who attend. We also have wonderful faithful and loyal women who come to yarn and enjoy each other’s company.
These are only some of the activities and events that happen here at Baabayn. There’s always consultations, meetings and supporting members of community as their need arises. We are always on the look out to find new ways to form partnerships and encourage community to make use of the centre. There are a few developments in the pipeline which we are very excited about. It gives us an indication that other services are interested in us and are willing to work with us. People come here for healing, for friendships and to learn new skills. It is overwhelming to us to see all these things take place. It’s not about us; it’s about our community and their dreams and aspirations to make changes for the future and to bring about self-determination and to close that gap. 8
MARGARET FARRELL (Chairperson)
I’m Margaret Farrell, and being one of the Directors and being a part of Baabayn and the community is very rewarding.
Baabayn is full of ideas. Our Young Mums’ group is thriving, as is the cooking class. The Elders are keen on doing the falls prevention classes every Tuesday in preparation for the Elders Olympics in Inverell in 2018. It is wonderful to see many of the community coming along to Baabayn to participate in the programs. As you would have heard we are moving our premises into a much larger building on Luxford Road where the Margaret Druitt Day Care Centre used to be.
MARY KERR (Support Person)
I have been working as a support person with the Community that is Baabayn since 2014. I first met the Directors when I was working for Western Sydney Community Forum as a Transport Development Worker, and my focus was on helping them organise transport for the Tuesday Gatherings. I never envisaged at that time how in meeting the Women, I would become transformed. I was accepted into the Community with so much love and affection that I continued to come out to Group every Tuesday, and enjoyed my visits so much. I had never been part of something that was so meaningful and part of something bigger than just one’s own life and personal endeavours. Here was a Group of Women, all dealing with very difficult personal circumstances, collective grief and trauma, who were giving back so much to their Community. Since that time we have grown and gained support from so many other people, who give of their time and resources to ensure the programs continue and thrive. We have organised some very successful events, raised funds, and expanded our programs and numbers of people participating in activities.
My greatest participation has been with the Young Mum’s Group, (Wirringa & Booris), and I really love to see all the young women and their children each Wednesday, enjoying each other’s company and sharing stories while participating in activities. I provide some of the transport for the group along with Sister Naomi, and sometimes prepare the lunch, or care for the children, who are all so beautiful. I am constantly amazed by the resilience of the Baabayn Women, and all those in the Community who attend the programs, despite the enormous personal difficulties they face. I have come to love and admire them all so much during this time and am forever grateful to have met them. I feel very honoured to be part of the Baabayn Community and to be allowed to share in the joys and sorrows of such a wonderful group of people. I am convinced that Baabayn will continue to grow and become the Healing force in Mount Druitt that is the Women’s dream.
KAREN SYED – (Co-ordinator Wirringa & Booris group)
My name is Karen Syed, and I co-ordinate Baabayn’s Wirringa & Booris (mothers and children) group. I also attend the Tuesday Baabayn Aboriginal Corporation group gathering and the Tuesday afternoon Homework Club with my son. I have worked on Baabayn’s fundraising committee and have organised the cultural cooking classes that are held at the Centre. I do all of this as a volunteer. I am very thankful to be a part of Baabayn and also thankful to have the opportunity to co-ordinate the Mothers’ Group for Baabayn. I see the Baabayn Aboriginal Corporation do wonders when it comes to the community and giving the community opportunities to come together to yarn and have a cuppa or even to further their studies. Baabayn has become like family to me, and I look forward to helping and supporting Baabayn in bettering our communities.
MIA JACKSON (Co-ordinator The Kurung Homework club)
My name is Mia Jackson, and I have been working with Baabayn for a year now, as the Homework Centre coordinator, I was so extremely grateful to be chosen to fill the position of Coordinator and to become a member of the Baabayn family.
Being part of Baabayn is so rewarding. I have had so many great opportunities like travelling to Stradbroke Island to represent Baabayn at the annual NATSICC conference. One of my highlights. I have also met some fantastic people along the way, whether it be tutors, the children who attend or just a friendly face coming in to say hi. The centre comes alive Tuesday afternoon at four o’clock with the sounds of children: either laughter and high-pitched voices, or moans and groans of the children that don’t want to do their homework!! I look forward to growing with Baabayn and the Homework Centre and learning from these extraordinary group of women, and only hope one day I can be as great as them.
SUE MARTIN – (The Kurung Homework club)
The Kurung Homework club has been continuously assisting students connected to Baabayn Aboriginal Corporation since August 2013. The Baabayn Homework Club is based on other Homework Clubs that Jarara Indigenous Unit and Jesuit Social Services (Melbourne) run with kids and is offered to anyone in the local Mt Druitt community especially the Koori kids who come to the annual Baabayn Corporation Christmas party and are not receiving help from other places. The idea for a Homework Club came to me when the Aboriginal group that I was connected with through Kuri-ngai Partners was looking for a way to expand on the one-off homework assistance that a few had received in the past. The Baabayn Elders considered the idea and sought some funding, and Mel Marne became our inaugural Kurung Homework club coordinator. In 2017 we have grown under the watchful eye of Mia Jackson and her team, and in 2017 we started a Kurung holiday program. Our first holiday program was held over the Easter break. On 18th April the Centre was opened up for fun and games. Boys from St Ignatius Riverview came to help with the games. Lots of cooking, and setting up a veggie garden and painting were highlights. Plans are underway for a holiday camp overnight in the Christmas holidays. The Tuesday afternoon Homework Club has grown, and the number of tutors who help has grown, so we are ready to do a call out for some more students to join our Kurung Homework Club.
TRISH – (The Kurung Homework club)
The homework group has grown from its humble beginnings at Mount Druitt Library. I have been involved with this group since the start and am proud of the achievements we have all made in terms of supporting the students who join us every week. The group has grown in numbers, both tutors and students alike, and we are lucky to have a dedicated team organising the weekly operation, from work sheets to sharp pencils. I think the children benefit greatly from the extended community who are caring for them and nurturing their learning process. I personally love the look on a child’s face when they realise they can do a particular task that they thought was beyond them.