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Strong fathers, strong families

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20 Nov 2013
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The Strong Fathers Strong Families project aims to strengthen the role of Yolngu fathers in their families.

Involving fathers in the lives of their children is crucial for a child’s health, development and wellbeing.

The Strong Fathers Strong Families project is an Australian Government initiative that highlights the importance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander fathers, partners, grandfathers and uncles.

Community workers provide support for young Yolngu men to be healthy role models and active participants in the lives of their children and families.

As part of the Strong Fathers Strong Families project, the Yolngu community grows its own vegetables for cooking. The programme also helps families to prepare their own meals and to educate fathers and mothers about healthy eating.

Cooking and nutrition classes regularly attract between 15 and 25 enthusiastic young fathers, where they learn to prepare nutritious and tasty meals for their families.

Rrawun Maymuru is a community worker with Strong Fathers Strong Families.

“We want to see young fathers, young mothers on a positive path and that’s why I am very happy to work with young fathers and also hope to learn from them, they teach us and then we teach them, ” Rrawun said.

The Strong Fathers Strong Families program staff have also developed a close working relationship with the Families as First Teachers program at Yirrkala School, enabling the sharing of information to support family needs and facilitating referrals to health and support services.

 Weekly joint activities including family bush trips and playgroups attract between 18 and 30 families every week.

Rrawun Maymuru, community worker, Strong Fathers Strong Families, Yirrkala, NT
MAYMURU: My name is Rrawun Maymuru I live here in the Yirrkala community and I work with Strong Fathers.MUSICMAYMURU: Mainly the program is to engage fathers to learn how to cook, our culture is different, we don’t cook for our wives so this is different for young fathers.Instead of wife cooking food, the fathers do the same too, and that’s why this program is so good, so strong and we want to see this program in the future.We grow our own vegies and then we do cooking with young mothers here and also try and educate young mothers how to live healthy for the benefits of future kids.We don’t want to go outside and buy things, we want to grow our own garden so we can use that for cooking and saving money as well, yeah it good.MUSIC

MAYMURU: We sometimes go hunting so we can get fish or any wild food and then we mix it with our ingredients.

We want to see young fathers, young mothers on a positive path and that’s why I am very happy to work with young fathers and also hope to learn from them, they teach us and then we teach them.

It’s all about living positive in a community.

Find out more

Supporting families and improving the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander people is an important part of Closing the Gap.

The Strong Fathers Strong Families programme is funded by the Australian Government through the Department of Health.

Watch our video on the programme here, or see it on YouTube.