In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, The Healing Foundation is supporting Stolen Generations organisations across Australia to deliver projects that assist survivors, who are among the most vulnerable people in the community.
COVID-19 has put additional pressure on Stolen Generations survivors and their families, who already experienced disproportionate social, emotional and financial disadvantage before the pandemic began.
The impacts of COVID-19 have had a significant effect on elderly survivors, many of whom are in their 80s and 90s and experiencing isolation and loneliness, separation from family and friends, and difficulty accessing health services.
The Healing Foundation CEO Fiona Petersen said the COVID-19 resilience project will support Stolen Generations survivors to regain a sense of control and get back to a place of collective healing.
“The pandemic has added an extra layer of complexity to past traumas experienced by Stolen Generations survivors, but the COVID-19 resilience project is about supporting each other through these challenging times,” Ms Petersen said.
“Our communities have the solutions for healing. Communities want to take the same approach with COVID-19, and with this project we can explore those cultural solutions.
“We know the importance of collective healing in communities. When we’re connecting to those elements of culture that keep us safe and well, we have the best chance of getting through this pandemic and back to a place of strength.”
Funding for the COVID-19 resilience project was provided to The Healing Foundation by the National Indigenous Australians Agency (NIAA). It has allowed 18 Stolen Generations organisations to invest in a range of innovative and creative solutions to quickly respond to the needs of survivors.
Organisations have used the funding to deliver care packages of necessities like food, hand sanitisers, tissues and toilet paper, all of which had become scarce across metropolitan, regional and remote locations. Tablet computers were provided to some communities to allow Stolen Generations survivors to stay connected while in isolation.
As part of the resilience project, funding is also available for counselling support for staff working for Stolen Generations organisations, as well as research into the long-term impacts of COVID-19 on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.