Girudala Community Co-Operative Society Ltd is an Indigenous community controlled organisation that provides housing, health services and promotes the welfare of Aboriginal, Torres Strait & South Sea Islander people.
Established in 1974, Girudala strives to deliver services of the highest standard to benefit community members in the towns of Bowen, Collinsville and Proserpine, Qld.
Their vision is to maintain a high level of professionalism and good governance in supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander people within the local community, and contributing to implementing regional and state policy initiatives.
Girudala is committed to encouraging more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community members to own their own homes, live proudly and stand on their own two feet in today’s society.
To Girudala, it is important that they care for their elderly and respect their links to their past. They also support the skills, self-reliance and leadership ability of young people, as they represent the future.
Girudala offers many programs including Affordable Housing, Home and Community Care (HACC), Family Support, Health Promotion, Employment Training and Support and Sport and Recreation.
An initiative of Girudala is the Herbert Street Family Medical Centre. They offer clinical services including general health checks, family planning, heart checks, vaccinations, minor surgery, nutritional advice and skin checks, all of which are carried out by two GP’s, a practice nurse and an Aboriginal health worker.
“We have found in the past before we concentrated on health services, that a doctor could prescribe medication, recommend good food and exercise but our Murri’s would only take the medicine and not the other two,” says CEO, Michelle Hooke.
“Providing a comprehensive health service that incorporates all of those is extremely important and we engage our clients to do that.”
A standout program offered by Girudala is the ‘Youth Health Promotions’, a free program that aims to holistically improve and maintain the physical, emotional and mental health and wellbeing of youth in the area.
They do this by engaging, educating and involving individuals in the community, so they can take control of their health and improve all aspects of the quality of their lives through various activities and projects.
The Youth Health Promotions officer at Girudala works closely and inventively with young people in the area, so that he is aware of all the issues that plague youth in the community and works to resolve them effectively and quickly.
The Changing Lanes Program runs every Wednesday and encourages physical activity. The group takes long walks along the beach, cooking healthy meals and playing fun games while incorporating exercise.
A special program runs throughout school holidays to provide young people with positive and healthy activities in their holidays. This aims to instil education and positive health messages to young people in a fun and friendly environment.
The Environmental Tobacco Smoke Project runs different events in Bowen throughout the year to teach children the dangers of smoking.
“The youth of today are a different culture all on their own, and understanding how they think and operate is very important to help create the future leaders in this society,” Michelle says.
“We aim to build self-esteem and confidence in young people because a lot of them lack that.
“This program helps them to find out about their roots, bloodlines and where they came from because if you have a solid grounding and foundation to work from, you can achieve anything.”
In the future, Girudala aims to continue striving to better the lives of our mob.
“Girudala wants to be self-sufficient and independent from government funding so that the funding that we do receive goes out to other needy organisations,” she says.
For more information on Girudala visit their website.