Caritas Australia supports programs that strengthen cultural identity, focusing on intergenerational healing and leadership, with the aim of developing culturally meaningful skills and enterprises.
Why We Work in Australia
WE BELIEVE in subsidiarity: that the people best placed to make decisions are those who will be most affected by them. Australia has a long history of making decisions for First Australian communities, rather than upholding these communities’ rights to decide for themselves. This history has had deep and long-lasting effects on First Australians, as well as Australia as a whole. There are glaring inequalities between the general population and those identifying as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander. We support programs in Australia that are designed and led by First Australians.
*Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website contains images and names of people who have since passed away.
Caritas Australia has been working with First Australian organisations and communities in Australia since 1972
Caritas supports seven programs through six local partners in Australia
Intergenerational healing, strengthening cultural identity and spirituality, livelihoods opportunities, advocacy
Archdiocese of Mt Hagen Disaster Resilience Program (PNG 1802)
Running Since: 2013
Partner Agency: Kinchela Boys Home Aboriginal Corporation (KBHAC)
Aims: To reconnect the Aboriginal men who were forcibly removed from their families, and to restore and reconstruct their identity, dignity and integrity
Who it is for: Survivors of Kinchela Boys Home and the descendants of these survivors
Achievements: This program has provided invaluable healing activities, workshops and counselling to 69 Aboriginal men who survived KBH, and nearly 300 of their descendants. Leaders have provided education sessions for the wider community, to share their stories and history. The program has secured aged care for many survivors, formed an advisory committee to the NSW government, and produced a short animated film called ‘We were just little boys’, narrated by survivors.
Fact: It is estimated that nearly 500 Aboriginal men were stolen from their families and placed in Kinchela Boys Home between 1924-1970
Compared with the general population of Australia, First Australian communities face a range of challenges, including lower life expectancy and poorer health, higher infant and maternal mortality rates, financial hardship and ongoing psychological trauma from the dispossession of their land and policies that resulted in the Stolen Generation.
Inequality First Australians are much more likely to live in poverty, and to have greater difficulty accessing educational and health services than the general population. There is also a significant gap in life expectancy for First Australians and non-indigenous Australians - of 12 years for males and 10 years for females. In addition, there are ongoing issues of injustice and persecution.
Trauma is a huge issue within First Australian Communities: both first-hand and intergenerational trauma, as the suffering of elders affects the next generation. This trauma is exacerbated by the continued misunderstanding of the causes of suffering.
Health Problems First Australian communities are more likely to have diabetes, respiratory diseases, cardiovascular disease, chronic kidney disease and mental health problems. Indigenous Australians experience a burden of disease that is around 2.3 times the rate of non-Indigenous Australians. For those living in remote areas, receiving appropriate treatment is often a struggle.
Our work in Australia
We have 13 partner-led First Australian programs. Here are some examples of how, through these programs, First Australians are driving their own change:
- Red Dust Healing is a cultural healing program, developed from an Aboriginal perspective that provides culturally meaningful tools to overcome past and present hurt and rejection. The program leads participants on a personal journey to understand the connections between Australia’s history and the trauma that many families experience, and empowers participants to take ownership of a brighter future.
- Kinchela Boys Home Aboriginal Corporation has been formed by survivors of the Kinchela Boys Home to reconnect with one another and re-establish their brotherhood for healing and truth telling.
The story of our work in Australia.
- The Tjanpi Desert Weavers program provides meaningful and culturally important work for women living in 28 remote communities across the NPY Lands (Central Australia). An initiative of NPY Women’s Council, the project provides income and skills development while also enabling opportunities for women to connect deeply with their cultural stories and traditional lands, and pass on their knowledge to younger generations.
- Djilpin Arts Aboriginal Corporation involves Elders and young people from the community of Beswick (Wugularr) in the development of cultural enterprises. Over several years Djilpin Arts have built a Cultural Centre for the sale and exhibition of locally produced artworks (managed by young people from the community), trained young people in digital media, developed weaving, bush medicine and jewellery businesses, and established award-winning tourist accommodation facilities (also managed by young people from the community).