Young doctors breaking down the barriers at Barrack Heights Public School

Barrack Public School graduated from the Ngargin Doctors project Porsha Williams, Cameron Leak, Denzel Walker, Hayley Benn and Manny Austin. Picture Eliza Winkler

Barrack Public School graduated from the Ngargin Doctors project Porsha Williams, Cameron Leak, Denzel Walker, Hayley Benn and Manny Austin. Picture Eliza Winkler

TWELVE students at Barrack Heights Public School graduated from a new young doctors program working to improve indigenous health. 

The Ngargin Doctors program is a community initiative of the Malpa Organisation, that brings together local Aboriginal elders in Australian communities with indigenous and non-indigenous students to learn and teach one another old and new ways to be healthy.

Malpa’s young doctors are taught the “timeless wisdom” found in the natural environment combined with modern medicine and hygiene practises. The program follows in the footsteps of many Aboriginal traditions, whereby elders pass on their ancient knowledge to younger people who continue to carry it on through generations.  

National project manager Sammi Fatnowna said the students covered five different themes: leadership, hygiene, nutrition, environmental health and health and literacy. 

“The community projects are driven by the local elders of each individual area,” Ms Fatnowna said.

“The program empowers the kids with knowledge and skills to take through their life and the intention of the program is to help build up the children’s self esteem.”

School principal Sarah Rudling said the program had contributed invaluable lessons for the kids of Barrack Public School.

“One of the greatest things about the program is that it teaches them to be leaders among their peers,” Ms Rudling said.

“This is local learning at its best, driven by local communities in a way that is appropriate to them.

“It is a fabulous project and it brings together our Koori and non-Koori kids. We plan to have the program every year and also will look to encourage other local schools to get involved.”

For more details on the program or how to get involved visit malpa.org.au

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