COVID-19 resilience project

The Healing Foundation received funding from the National Indigenous Australian Agency (NIAA) for COVID-19 response projects for Stolen Generations organisations to deliver projects that support survivors and their families.

18 Stolen Generations organisations have been funded to deliver a range of innovative and creative COVID-19 response projects and to provide support for Stolen Generations survivors across the country.

Further funding has been given to help address the long-term impacts of COVID-19 and to share knowledge learned and stories of community resilience and strength during COVID-19.

There is also funding available for counselling support for staff working for Stolen Generations organisations and to deliver research into the long-term impacts of COVID-19.

The Healing Foundation will be hosting a series of virtual yarning circles with guest speakers from Stolen Generations organisations to share presentations about their COVID-19 projects with other Stolen Generations organisations.

Emerging themes

Some of the key themes we are hearing from Stolen Generations organisations include:

  • Retriggering trauma – There was acknowledgement that all of these rules and regulations of COVID-19 felt like being under control of protection for some Stolen Generations survivors
  • Grief and Sorry business – The impact of only 10 people attending the funeral, surreal nature of virtual funerals, border closures and layers of grief during social isolation have been significant
  • Connections to Country – Suggestions of virtual smoking ceremonies, meditations in language, bush medicine, zoom rooms and other ideas to connect people with their Country
  • Challenges of Technology – Breaking down the barriers and limitations for Elders and how they engage with technology and ways to support them to do so
  • Isolation and loneliness – Ongoing challenge for many Stolen Generations survivors and families unable to connect/hug/express themselves in usual ways
  • Uncertainty – The long term needs are going to require extra consideration to ensure Stolen Generations survivors are supported after the global pandemic to deal with the impacts of isolation, deaths, suicide and health issues along with social and emotional wellbeing needs
  • Practical support – Challenges of telehealth services, phone credits, food packs, self care packs, internet top ups, etc
  • Vulnerability – The economic disadvantage for Stolen Generations survivors will be higher given they are already vulnerable within their communities
  • Resilience – The strength and resilience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples has been shining for more than 65,000 years.

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Stolen Generations organisations COVID-19 projects

Some of the Stolen Generations organisations that have been funded to deliver COVID-19 resilience projects include:

Northern Territory Stolen Generations Aboriginal Corporation (NTSGAC)

Many of the Stolen Generations survivors that NTSGAC supports are elderly and suffering health problems, house-bound due to their vulnerability, with no means of transport, finance, or even family support.

NTSGAC decided to provide Stolen Generations survivors with care hampers consisting of tin and dry packaged foods, general household products, toiletries, toilet paper, hand sanitizer, etc.

So far ninety hampers have been delivered to first generations peoples, with more to be arranged in the lead up to Christmas.

Staff packed and delivered the care boxes and our Elders very much appreciated receiving them. A number of them called our office to thank us or sent messages to say how grateful they were.

Connecting Home (Victoria)

Connecting Home have been able to purchase 30 tablet computers for Stolen Generations survivors to remain in contact with each other. 15 tablets were purchased for the men’s group and 15 for the women’s groups. This was particularly beneficial to men, who have been experiencing higher rates of hospitalisation for self-harm and mental health due to the impacts of COVID. These tablets came at a very important time.

The tablets meant that men’s groups could continue. Games could be downloaded onto tablets and were extremely beneficial and reduced hospitalisation, for some men experiencing significant chronic health issues and suicide risk on top of restrictions and isolation. The tablets provided connection with the outside world from their own homes.

The effects of the tablets as a tool for ongoing engagement with the men and women have been very uplifting for staff, who have been very fatigued and experienced their own mental health challenges working from home (especially lack of social connection that working from home has caused). The positive impacts have flowed on beyond those directly using the tablets.

Connecting Home have also delivered care packages for Stolen Generations survivors.



Kinchela Boys Home Aboriginal Corporation (KBHAC)

Kinchela Boys Home decided to purchase 30 laptops and dongles for Kinchela Boys to help them stay connected with each other and families. They purchased refurbished laptop and had these set up by an IT provider to make it easy for the Uncles to use them. Instruction sheets were developed to help make it easy for them to use the laptops and Kinchela staff supported them to connect.

COVID has been incredibly isolating for many of the Uncles living alone.

“This feels like being back in Kinchela, except it’s worse this time, without our brothers.” – Uncle Michael Welsh

They have also held some virtual gatherings to bring some of the Uncles together. They are planning a backyard corroboree via zoom from one of the Uncle’s backyards for their next gathering to come together and play the ukulele and other musical instruments and have a yarn with each other.



Coota Girls Aboriginal Corporation

Coota Girls priorities during COVID-19 were to keep their Stolen Generations survivors safe, meet their practical support needs, along with their social, emotional and spiritual wellbeing needs, as they continue the healing journey for the Coota families.

Practical support included phone credits to keep the Coota Girls connected with families and each other. Along with Food packs and Self-Care packs with gardening, pamper, books & puzzles, art supplies and Uncle Archie Roach’s book to keep them occupied with something to do.

Social and emotional wellbeing support included virtual cultural and yarning workshops, such as Bush foods with an Aboriginal Nutritionist, Storytelling – with Uncle Archie Roach, Traditional Art – with Uncle Richard Campbell, Traditional Weaving with a Coota Girl descendant, Pro-bono Wills and Estate planning and Financial workshops and morning teas.

“The painting class has helped me build confidence again and I really enjoyed the weaving!” – Coota descendant



Sister Kate’s Home Kids Aboriginal Corporation

Sister Kate’s have delivered a range of support for Stolen Generations survivors across WA. They have delivered care hampers to 100 survivors from Perth to Port Hedland and Northam to Nungarin to help them through COVID-19. They purchased four computers to enable zoom meetings and virtual connections with survivors and families to continue.

Sister Kate’s Home Kids Aboriginal Corporation, in collaboration with BlackRussian Productions (in association with Murdoch University) have produced and developed a video “Risen” that won a prize in the imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival. This was live streamed and shown in Toronto during the festival.

They have also developed a new database to gather all the records from Stolen Generations survivors and to set up membership program for families as part of a succession plan for the younger generations to continue to carry the legacy of their ancestors.




Yorgum has delivered Care Packs to Stolen Generations survivors across Perth, Katanning, Kalgoorlie and Port Hedland.

Over 115 clients have been supported so far with food hampers and wellbeing hampers, that have included a range of hard to get food supplies and toiletries, along with all of their needs for COVID safe cleaning supplies. More hampers will be delivered in the lead up to Christmas.

Yorgum are also hosting a Missions Reunion gathering in the South West in Katanning to bring Stolen Generations survivors and families together after a long period of isolation during COVID.

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