‘Helping and caring, not only our Family’: NT Indigenous perspectives on volunteering

This project was conducted as a partnership between Australian Red Cross and Charles Darwin University, and in close collaboration with Yalu’ Marŋgithinyaraw in 2015.

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Voluntary service research with Indigenous researchers from Yalu’ Marŋgithinyaraw, community members and a CDU researcher at Galiwin’ku in 2015

Project Aims:

To explore ways that voluntary service plays a role in community building, and recommend ways in which the Australian Red Cross may work with Indigenous volunteers and research organisations in the future.

Research approach:

  • Research was carried out by teams of Indigenous and non-Indigenous researchers working together to produce and implement a project design
  • Where possible discussions were conducted in language, and were later translated
  • Work was oriented towards developing better ways for the Australian Red Cross to collaborate with people in communities around voluntary service work.

Insights included:

  • Formal volunteering with Australian Red Cross was seen as  entirely consistent with the ancestral practices of care and concern which are alive within networks of kin and place.
  • It is beneficial for organisations to see each individual in the context of his or her ancestral connections and
    individual capabilities. It is damaging to treat people as all the same.
  • Local Elders are not volunteers; they are senior managers and should be recognised and acknowledged for their knowledge.
Australian Red Cross building in Wurrumiyanga, Tiwi Islands

Indigenous Researchers:

Donna Jackson

Donna Jackson from Larrakia Nation Aboriginal Corporation

Kellie Pollard from Larrakia Nation Aboriginal Corporation

Joy Bulkanhawuy from Raki Mala Consultancies