Tereesa with her children near her home in western Sydney. Photo: Richard Wainwright/Caritas Australia

Your support can impact the next generation of First Australians

With the help of Caritas Australia’s partner, Baabayn Aboriginal Corporation, Tereesa found her feet and got her and her four young kids out of homelessness and into a stable home.

Bringing culture to life

Tereesa with four of her artworks that were displayed at the 2022 Vivid Festival Sydney at Baabayn Aboriginal Corporation in western Sydney. Photo: Richard Wainwright/Caritas Australia

“I’m very relaxed when I’m painting, it helps me calm. I’ve been through a storm, and painting – I just feel at peace,” Tereesa said.

Before visiting Baabayn, Tereesa had never engaged much in art and was struggling to find accurate information about her cultural background. By visiting the centre, Tereesa was able to learn stories from Indigenous elders and learn to paint symbols and use traditional techniques in her artworks. 

Today, Tereesa pays it forward by mentoring other young mothers in the Mums and Bubs program, so that more First Nations Australians can gain access to the opportunities they deserve, and carry that legacy for future generations.

The Young Mums and Bubs program welcomes Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mums across the area who long to and hear from Indigenous elders and reconnect with their culture. 

As well as this, Tereesa is now able to generate an income from her artwork. 

As part of Baabayn I sold some of my artworks in NAIDOC stores, and I’m now slowly branching out to open up my own business and start doing it for myself,” she said. “I was completely gobsmacked by how many people actually wanted Indigenous artwork.


Tereesa, like many First Nations Australians never had the opportunity prior to visiting Baabayn to learn much about her culture.

Sadly this story is not uncommon. First Nations Australians have faced generations of disadvantage.

Separation from culture and land, unresolved trauma, discrimination and social stigma have left some unable to share their knowledge of culture, and feeling a need to hide their First Nations identity. Baabayn Aboriginal Corporation educates visitors on spirituality and Indigenous knowledge in a culturally appropriate way, helping them heal from past traumas and find their feet paving a brighter future for themselves and their children.

See how Tereesa went from strength to strength, and got her artwork into last year’s Vivid installation in Sydney.

Tereesa runs a jewellery workshop with members of the Youth Group 'Speak up Sis' at Baabayn Aboriginal Corporation. Photo: Richard Wainwright/Caritas Australia

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Why culture matters to First Nations Australians

Tereesa speaking with a visitor of the Young Mums and Bubs program at Baabayn. Photo: Richard Wainwright/Caritas Australia

First Nations Australians have some of the oldest continuing living cultures in the world, going back at least 65,000 years (National Indigenous Australians Agency).

  • With hundreds of nations and clans across the country, Australia has a rich history and knowledge of spirituality, story, customs, cultural laws and values.
  • Not only is this something that Australians can be really proud of, it also underpins the efforts to close the gap in social and economic welfare.
  • Research shows that culture is a protective factor in the welfare of Indigenous families, children, and communities (Australian Insititute of Family Studies, 2014).

Baabayn nurtures First Nations peoples’ knowledge of culture and spirituality as a core aim of its programs.  Your support today can help fund the highly-effective, culturally-safe programs that Baabayn run, and keep their doors open so that more Indigenous Australians can thrive.

Why Caritas Australia works hand-in-hand with First Australian partners

Tereesa chatting with elders at Baabayn Aboriginal Corporation. Photo: Richard Wainwright/Caritas Australia


The work of Caritas Australia is underpinned by the Catholic Social Teaching of subsidiarity –  that decisions should be made by those most closely affected by them, in the community where they occur. 

Tereesa poses for a photograph with the founding Elders of Baabayn during the weekly Elders Gathering at Baabayn Aboriginal Corporation in western Sydney. Photo: Richard Wainwright/Caritas Australia

First Australians have the solutions

This is why we build strong relationships with First Nations-led organisations, and draw from the strengths of these communities. We have seven First Australian partners in areas of wellbeing, families, juvenile justice, art, culture, tourism and traditional methods of savannah burning to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Tereesa outside Baabayn Aboriginal Corporation in western Sydney. Photo: Richard Wainwright/Caritas Australia

Your support can create lasting change

With your support we can continue to accompany these crucial programs, continue to close the gap for First Nations Australians, and keep culture alive.  

A lot of people don’t know that we’re here… So having a lot more community members that need our services come in, that would be great.


We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of Australia and of the land on which we live and work. We acknowledge the Elders, past and present, and younger generations as the emerging leaders of the future. This land is and will always belong to First Australians people.