Stitching Our Story, Stitching Our Future
Despite its rich human story, Muli is a community that has numerous social disadvantages and is considered to be one of the lowest socio-economic communities in the LGA of Kyogle. The community of Muli is isolated and a lack of funds, resources, and education contribute to high unemployment rates.
Life skills to enhance wellbeing, build resilience, social cohesion, confidence, save money and provide an opportunity for employment and the ability to create generational change are the needs that local organisation, Kyogle Family Support Services wanted to facilitate in the Muli community. This was made possible thanks to project funding from an NRCF 2022 Community Grant.
The National Strategic Framework for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health 2017-2023 recognises that the improvement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health must include attention to physical, spiritual, cultural, emotional and social wellbeing, community development, and capacity building. Racism, stigma, environmental adversity and social disadvantage constitute ongoing stressors and have negative impacts on people’s mental health and wellbeing.
As such, ideas for basic life skills were presented to the women of Muli community. Sewing and mending was a unanimous life skill the women said they were eager to learn.
A community grant from NRCF enabled the project “Stitching Our Story, Stitching Our Future”
The project sought to support women to empower themselves to access and further the life choices that are consistent with their culture, spirituality, values, skills, desires, passions, dexterity and dreams. It endeavoured to acknowledge existing strengths within the community and to further those threads of connection, meaning and purpose.
Working with the Muli Community and Elders, the project was delivered by an Aboriginal Family Worker who is well known by the Muli Community.
The success of this project has rippled out into the community of Muli in ways that far exceeded its projected outcomes. Aside from improvements in problem solving, confidence, social cohesion, dexterity and all-round sewing and mending skills of the female participants; discussions were held on what changes the project members would like to see and bring to their community to help it thrive and create opportunities for their young people to enable them to stay within their community and family network. Also, during the course of the project, men came to see what the women were doing and expressed a desire to start projects of their own such as a men’s shed where they could not only do woodwork and art but have an opportunity to pass on their knowledge and skills to the younger generations.