Our Goals and Objectives

Waminda aims to empower and support Women and their Aboriginal Families of the Shoalhaven to make decisions about their own health and reduce the height rate of ill health amongst Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander women in the Shoalhaven Community.

Our organisation provides a free service for all women and their Aboriginal families of all ages.

All transport needs will be met for aboriginal women to access the services.


‘Our vision is that women and their ATSI families are positive, happy and healthy. They are widely admired and proud of their achievements in their own communities and the broader Shoalhaven.

Waminda addresses the social determinants of health, provides a centre of excellence for ATSI women’s health within the Shoalhaven community and is a leader in linking culture with education, health and well-being’

Service Goals:

1.     To raise the health, well-being and spiritual status of women and their Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families on the South            Coast area;

2.     To provide a holistic range of quality and culturally safe tailored health and well-being services in an inclusive environment within    
        an Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Framework;

3.     To facilitate communication and encourage collaborative decision making between clients, team members and appropriate

4.     To achieve and move into our own purpose built facility and to become a centre of excellence;

5.     To continue to be a learning organisation for Staff and the Community;

6.     To increase our service’s profile in the community regionally, nationally and internationally and highlight our core philosophy;

7.     To be economically and environmentally sustainable in the short, medium and long term


Waminda Exists to:

1.     Support and strengthen women and their Aboriginal families to make informed decisions about their own health and well-being;

2.     Reduce the high rate of ill health among women and their Aboriginal families in the South Coast area informed decisions about
        their own health and well-being

3.     Promote pride in Aboriginal identity, culture and encourage self determination, based on the belief that this is central to the health
        and well-being of women and their Aboriginal families.  Waminda will reflect the caring and sharing nature of Aboriginal culture and
        create a sense of belonging and hope for the future, based on the belief that knowing who you are as an Aboriginal person is
        central to any positive life;

4.     Provide comprehensive services in a flexible, holistic way that responds to the needs of women and their Aboriginal families
        particularly, those who are most vulnerable, focusing on the social determinants of health, primary health care, wellbeing and
        outreach services;

5.     Provide a unique, safe, accepting, healing place that is culturally safe and takes account of differences in experiences, ways of
        communicating, values, kinship, families and insight into healing and that recognizes the impact of trans-generational trauma,
        history and experiences on current life situations of women and their Aboriginal families;

6.     Provide a leadership role in improving the health and wellbeing of women and their Aboriginal families.  This leadership role will be
        based on respect for Elders, building strong relationships between Elders and young women and on recognizing the valuable role
        that Elders can play in mentoring;

7.     Provide a professional, transparent, ethical and accountable service based on co-operation, collaboration and recognizing duty of
        care responsibilities.

Current Programs/Projects:Aboriginal Cancer Care Project

 To work with NSW Cancer Council, Cancer Australia and their organisations to provide training for Aboriginal Health worker (AHW)  in the cancer journey   through prevention, screening, diagnosis and treatment;

  • Through the above collaborations, identify and obtain current resources and develop or adapt additional resources, if need is identified, to meet the local needs
  • Organise Cancer Awareness Workshops to be run collaboratively between AHW, Medicare Local and Cancer Staff
  •  Provide community based education on the importance and effectiveness of cancer therapies
  • Consider needs of the Aboriginal people who need to access the ISLHD Cancer services facilities
  •   Deliver culturally appropriate services through improving the awareness of Aboriginal Culture for mainstream health professionals
  • Improve accessibility through provision of outreach clinic and AHW supported by cancer services and Medicare Local staff
  • Embed Aboriginal cancer considerations in health planning

Aboriginal Family Health/ Domestic Violence Program

  • Provide court support to clients; advocacy (Domestic and Family violence and elder abuse)
  • Crisis intervention
  • Community control approach
  • Case management of Complex clients working with Waminda’s case management plan
  • Community outreach of the DV service
  • Promotion and education awareness raising sessions in schools and the wider community

Aboriginal Family Support Program

  • To support Aboriginal women and their children to develop skills, to build upon their strengths and to identify needs in relation to family, housing, financial, social and emotional wellbeing
  • Supervision of the Aboriginal Family Support Workers, Youth Workers and Playgroup Workers
  • Health Promotion and Educational workshops in relation to strengthening the family unit (i.e. Parenting Program)
  • Case management of Complex clients working with Waminda’s case management plan
  • Case Management and support in relation to DOC’s and court referrals
  • Support and Advocacy for Aboriginal Women and their children with other services within the Shoalhaven
  • Facilitate workshops within the community to strengthen the capacity of the Aboriginal Women and their children

Aboriginal Supported Playgroup

  • A supported playgroup held at Waminda for Koori mothers and their children
  • Access to mainstream services
  • Access to transport
  • Support children to achieve real and measurable improvements in health, education and development
  • Support the mothers in an holistic sense in relation to health, welfare, housing, financial, social and emotional wellbeing
  • Early intervention services i.e.: early childhood nurse, dietician, specialist children’s services

Aboriginal Women’s Artists Group

This is a project for Koori women to produce art and craft in an holistic context supported by Waminda in order to further the women’s self growth and empowerment;

  • To develop an Aboriginal business enterprise for the women
  • Workshops and training
  •  Website development
  • Working with Aboriginal Women who have experienced severe trauma and grief and loss issues through art and healing
  • Involvement in community development projects
  • Oral history project
  • Engaging the young Aboriginal girls from the Schools Program teaching traditional Aboriginal arts & crafts

Aboriginal Women’s Health and Well-being Program (“Dead or Deadly”)

An ongoing 10 week program for Aboriginal women which covers health, happiness, a fitness program, diet, self esteem and goal setting. This program is run in Nowra/Bomaderry, Wreck Bay and Jerrinja.

Waminda in conjunction with the Aboriginal Women from the Jerrinja Community, have established a community garden. The community garden will be the responsibility of the Jerrinja Communities Women’s Well-being group and Waminda

Aboriginal Women’s Respite “Healing House” Project

This project is a partnership between South Coast AMS, Carer’s NSW and Oolong House (Aboriginal Men’s D&A Rehab). The aim of the respite program is to provide short term respite accommodation, centre based day programs / services and carer’s camps to Aboriginal clients and their families on the South Coast.  Aboriginal women living with a mental illness, or their Aboriginal carers are able to use the healing house to have a rest from the pressures of daily life. Waminda operates a Respite House for Aboriginal Women in Nowra.

Cultural Women’s Project

  • To develop Cultural Women’s Camps and Gatherings within the Shoalhaven region including the discreet 9 Aboriginal Communities at the first initial gathering
  •  Engage with Aboriginal Women and Identify key contacts
  • Hold  meetings within the Shoalhaven with the key contacts within the community
  • Hold a series of focus groups to establish, purpose, Terms of Reference, establish the need and the framework for Women’s council
  • Facilitate, support, plan and carry out Cultural Women’s Camps and Gatherings on country
  • Engagement with other Aboriginal Communities and encourage participation at future Women’s Gatherings

Drug and Alcohol Support Program

  • Providing crisis aid
  • Advocacy and referral
  •  Information and education sessions
  • Case management and support
  • Early intervention programs

 Holistic Support - Sexual Assault Support Program

  • Provides support, information and education services to Aboriginal women and girls affected by Sexual Abuse
  • Referral services
  • Transportation support
  • Court support
  • Victims compensation
  • Advocacy
  • Promotion and education awareness raising workshops and sessions in schools and the wider community.   

Justice Health Program

  • Health,  Well-being and Holistic Support for Women and their Aboriginal families
  • Case Management of Aboriginal Women incarcerated in Gaol
  • Liaison with NSW Correctional Staff and associated services
  • Networking with Court System, Circle Sentencing and Legal Services
  • Re-engagement of Women back into the community before and after their release
  • Facilitate programs to reduce re offending

We will provide support and facilitate:

  • Culturally appropriate services
  • Court support and advocacy
  • Education and training
  • Information
  • Referral services and advocacy
  • Access to specific counseling
  • Liaise and network with existing services
  • Housing support and Advocacy
  • Incorporate a cultural, spiritual and family context within which the families live.
  • Specific programs to target the needs of the clients both in the community and in the Gaol
  • Liaise and visit inmates and support family members to attend visits

New Directions: Mums and Bubs Program - Waminda Clinic

  • Access to antenatal care for women pregnant with an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander child
  • Standard information about baby care for mothers of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander children
  • Practical advice and assistance with breastfeeding, nutrition and parenting skills for mothers of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander children
  •  Monitoring of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children’s weight gain, immunisation status, infections and early developmental milestones by a dedicated primary health care service; and
  • Testing, early detection and timely treatment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children’s hearing, sight, speech and other development issues before starting school
  • Access to a GP and Midwife as well as Aboriginal Primary Health Care Workers and Access Workers. Transport available

Research and Evaluation Project

Waminda is presently undertaking research and evaluation activities to ascertain current health and wellbeing issues pertinent to Aboriginal women and their families within the region.  The Shoalhaven Koori Women’s Study aims to honor Aboriginal women’s’ voices through an action research process that partners Indigenous research paradigms whilst maintaining scientific rigor.  The study includes an evaluation component that will assess effectiveness of Waminda’s service delivery and partnerships within the region.  A vital element is building the capacity of the service to ensure staff and board members are able to conduct their own research and evaluation activities that are relevant and of benefit to the service.  The reliability of such a model will be assessed to identify key recommendations so that other Indigenous communities may be able to implement a similar process.  This is a unique position where the community control service is leading the agenda thus changing the way research and evaluation is conducted whereby the service is involved from conception to completion.

Slice of Life Australia (SOLA) Project

Work in partnership with SOLA

We currently employ 2 women who work at the SOLA café in North Nowra. Community Garden Project in partnership with Waminda and SOLA. SOLA have acquired Land at Terara. We will be working in partnership to support women to gain experience in a community garden and in a supported training and employment environment

SOLA and Waminda have created this partnership out of a common understanding and a shared philosophy of social justice and community focus. 

Social, Emotional Well-being Program

Increase knowledge, physical, social and emotional support for Aboriginal Women and their families who experience mental health illnesses and issues, to enable and empower them to utilize mainstream health services and other social and welfare services which enhance their health and well being;

  • Case management of Complex clients working with Waminda’s case management plan
  • Support and Advocacy for Aboriginal Women and their children with other services within the Shoalhaven
  • Facilitate workshops within the community to strengthen the capacity of the Aboriginal Women and their children

Staying Home Leaving Violence Program

The program offers intensive case management for women who want to stay in their own home and have the violence leave.

  • Safety Planning and security upgrades to their house
  • Court support and advocacy
  • Referrals to counseling and other services
  • Support to live free of violence in the home of their choice
  • Ongoing support to achieve their goals

Supported Employment

Waminda has a structured supported employment program that encourages Aboriginal Women to enter the workforce within a framework. This framework allows women who may not have been employed before or who may not have had formal training to gain an opportunity in base entry level positions.

This supported employment includes:

  • Family friendly work environment
  • Flexible working hours within a cultural context
  • Ongoing work based training
  • Access to tertiary training
  • Access to professional development.

We are encouraging Aboriginal women to feel empowered about their lives. Without this support most of these women will fall through the gaps and be reliant on welfare, they would not be able to gain fulfilling, life changing supported personal development.

The Supported employment is an opportunity for all participants to make a significant change and to make a positive impact within society.

Supported employment is the key for women to become self-reliant to create positive journeys for themselves and their families as well as developing possible career paths. 

Women’s Health Program

  • Women’s Health and Sexual health Clinic
  • Early childhood and antenatal services
  • Mammography and Cervical screening days
  • Pamper days
  • Grief and Loss support groups
  • Over 40’s physical activity group
  • Aboriginal Women’s Health and Well-being project
  • Women’s health promotion and information
  • Promotion and education awareness raising sessions in schools and the wider community
  • Promotion and education awareness raising sessions in schools and the wider community

Young People’s Mentoring and Schools Program

  • To work with several primary and high schools in the Shoalhaven region in relation to developing workshops, education sessions and projects with young Koori girls (Years 5-6 and Years 7-10)
  • To assist the young women and girls to develop discerning relationships with other Koori women in their community
  • To promote the Cultural beliefs and traditions of the Koori community through the elders and a mentorship process
  • To empower the young girls and women to make healthy and informed choices
  • To develop up the young women’s mentoring program and work closely with young Koori women from yrs 11-12 and first year university students

Current Context for Waminda

  • We are the only Aboriginal Women’s Health and Welfare service in Australia
  • We understand the importance of good governance and we have developed a strong and vibrant Board of Management comprising 7 strong Koori women
  • Part of our philosophy is that we work with the family as a whole and not just with individuals in a culturally appropriate way
  • We are an holistic service, understanding that women and  their Aboriginal families have complex needs and require a holistic approach in relation to service delivery
  • We are here to support the identity of Aboriginal women and understand that many Aboriginal women and their families are turning to drugs and alcohol as a coping mechanism and are not identifying with their culture
  • We understand the importance of family and community but we also understand the complexities that this brings in service delivery
  • We understand the Aboriginal Communities of Jerrinja, Wreck Bay, Bomaderry-Nowra, Ulladulla and Gerringong-Kiama are complex and unique. We listen to their needs and develop programs to suit these needs e.g. the Community Garden at Jerrinja
  • We are faced with many challenges in the Shoalhaven: six discreet Aboriginal communities, a severe lack of public transport, severe overcrowding in public housing, co-morbidity issues for Aboriginal women and their families, the impact of the Gaol on the community as a whole, lack of emergency and crisis accommodation for Aboriginal women and their children, no Koori specific D&A rehabilitation services and limited Aboriginal men’s support programs to dovetail with our work
  • Even though we are a very successful Aboriginal Community controlled service that has been operating for the past 30 years we are still vulnerable in terms of the funding environment and require additional support and resources to do the basic work required in this community
  • We achieve outcomes for women and their Aboriginal families that no other service or government department is able to achieve. We are often relied upon to work with the most vulnerable in the community when others have given up and we have seen positive outcomes from this
“We know what needs to be done to further empower women and their Aboriginal families in this community “ 
“We just need to be supported to do so”