Supporting indigenous new mothers – and helping them access supplies such as car seats, nappies, breast pumps and baby clothing – is part of a new regional focus being undertaken by Treasure Boxes.
Treasure Boxes is a not-for-profit organisation that provides assistance packages such as cots, high chairs, clothing and toys, to children and their families fleeing domestic violence, in foster care or living in severe disadvantage who are often forced to leave their home so urgently they don’t have a chance to gather belongings.
The organisation will this week travel to regional South Australia to hear from communities in Port Augusta, Whyalla, Port Pirie and Ceduna – and find out what support would be most useful for new mothers – while also bringing with them supplies which have been considered ‘urgent’ by those working in these communities.
Treasure Boxes Founder Rikki Cooke said supporting Indigenous mothers – some of whom are forced to travel up to 600km for maternity services – was a priority for the organisation, which will start its trip in Port Pirie on March 26 and end it in Ceduna on the 28th.
“We aim to ease the anxiety, stress and trauma placed on newborns, young children and their families affected by extreme hardship and this extends to Indigenous new mothers who are trying to cope with motherhood with so few supplies,” Ms Cooke said.
“We were approached by service agencies in Ceduna, who spoke to us about the urgent need for baby supplies and equipment and wanted to visit other regional areas and discuss firsthand with communities about their current needs and how we might be able to help.
“We see this as a real first step in supporting regional communities and finding out what they need so we can work with them and use the resources we have to support them. We see this trip as a listening tour – we want to have an ongoing presence in these communities and continue to chat to them about the ways in which we can help.
The Ceduna District Health Service supports approximately 20 Aboriginal women who are currently experiencing high risk pregnancies – while others use maternity services in Whyalla and Port Augusta.
In Port Augusta Treasure Boxes will meet with the Director of Nursing from the AMIC program and midwives from the Port Augusta Hospital, and the team from Uniting Care Wesley.
In Port Pirie, they will meet with ‘Uniting Country’ and other surrounding support organisations, and in Whyalla, they will meet with members of the Nunyara Birthing Program, the Anglicare Outreach Program and Centacare.
When the organisation arrives in Ceduna, they will Ceduna District Health Service, Catholic Country SA, Save the Children, and the Tullawon Health Service.
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