What We Do

Indigenous Projects

Despite our country’s many advantages and continued high rankings in Human Development Reports, many Indigenous and refugee communities continue to face significant disadvantages, especially in health, education, housing and employment.

Both in our cities and in remote areas, these communities face challenges every day that the rest of Australia would find difficult.

Our refugee and Indigenous projects are spread across Australia and focus on education as a means of empowering our newest and oldest members of society.

New South Wales Learn More

Baabayn Aboriginal Corporation –

Keeping a Good Thing Going, Mt Druitt

Mercy Works is proud of our partnership over a number of years with Baabayn Aboriginal Corporation in Mt Druitt. By supporting a Child Care project in the western suburbs of Sydney, Mercy Works has enabled the Baabayn Aboriginal Corporation to provide a program each Wednesday.

Here, Indigenous mums and bubs gather for three hours each week and enjoy a culturally sensitive program to contribute to an Aboriginal-led movement for better outcomes for First Nations women and children.

The centre nurtures local Aboriginal mums’ confidence, self-esteem, spirituality and cultural knowledge in a supportive and healing environment – and aims to reduce the likelihood of intervention by child protection authorities.

The weekly bubs group engages small children with a vision of “healthy happy jarjums” with a secure sense of their identity both as Aboriginal children and as cherished members of their family.

Baabayn also promotes networking and partnerships, parenting skills, social and emotional well-being, community development and Aboriginal empowerment.

This program engages local Aboriginal families with services through a community worker and supportive networks. Young mums, who are often the household manager, take control of their lives with greater confidence and competence. They gain skill to navigate services such as Centrelink and other government agencies, and they have a greater awareness of their legal rights.

With growing recognition Aboriginal self-determination is the best antidote, this project proudly works toward Aboriginal self-empowerment, working to end the cycle of intergenerational trauma.


 St Mary’s, Bowraville

Yaanyji Ngalan – Walking Together

This project aims to further support the improved experience for students in the areas of culture and wellbeing at St Mary’s Primary School, Bowraville, which currently educates 57 children across the Nambucca Valley.

Children at the school come from all walks of life with a number of families coming from low socio-economic homes, where family life, can at times be dire. 60% are Indigenous.

Yaanyji Ngalan hopes to improve their relationship with the local Gumbaynggirr community through the role of an Indigenous Mentor in the school community, who will connect with community organisations to create further opportunities for Indigenous learners.

The project aims to target families who have considerable difficulty in providing for their children. This includes resources to support early literacy, personal care, healthy living and hygiene, as well as establishing a space in the school for these families to meet.

These children are further provided for in the way of resources to support their cultural and wellbeing development as well as a holiday camp to experience opportunities on country.

The planned outcomes include:

  • An improved plan and opportunity for students to engage with cultural activities within the school context and in the wider community.
  • For children to have increased sense of self in their culture and an improved measure in their own wellbeing.
  • To continue to improve connections with community and be an educational environment where community relationships are embedded and protected.
  • To create a shared gathering safe space – the Yarning Space garden.



South Australia Learn More

Adelaide First Nations Advocacy

(Nunga Babies Watch)

In South Australia, some women with pregnancy complications from  the remote and rural regions of the state are forced to travel to hospitals in towns such as Ceduna, Port Lincoln and Port Augusta or Adelaide to deliver their babies. This situation leads to long periods of separation from their families, Country and critical support networks. Sometimes Aboriginal mothers  find themselves homeless, and possibly living in the parklands in Adelaide.

The Adelaide First Nations Advocacy project is based in Adelaide.  Aboriginal Elder women have formed a Committee to provide outreach support to Aboriginal mothers as they deal with child protection issues. They have formed a group called the Nunga Babies Watch and are now advocating to parliament and providing support including access to legal advice, case management, court support, and links to support services and other organisations.

Establishing this proactive service for Aboriginal families aims to reduce the number of babies removed from their families without adequate consultation and warning, while making sure they feel culturally supported and informed.

Salt n’ Pepper

Salt n’ Pepper is located in Adelaide, South Australia and is a pre and post release outreach project that works with Aboriginal women to help bridge the equity gap. The volunteer based team of Elder Aboriginal women offers culturally appropriate support, both emotional and practical, to Aboriginal women in prison and following their release back into the community.

Aboriginal women are often caught in a cruel cycle of incarceration and release then homelessness, re-offending and re-incarceration. Untreated physical and mental health, addiction and a loss of skills and financial independence increases the risk of reoffending and severely impacts their self-esteem. The stigma that surrounds this issue is a large part of the reason why Aboriginal women are more vulnerable to this cycle.

This program offers Aboriginal women in the post-prison release program, the opportunity to undertake leadership training to learn skills in mentoring and peer support for other Aboriginal women leaving prison. Educating these vulnerable women will give them the skills and knowledge to keep themselves, their children and their families safer in the future.

Victoria Learn More

Western Bulldogs Community Foundation

Nallei Jerring Youth Leadership Program

The Nallei Jerring Youth Leadership Program (meaning ‘Join and Unite’ in Woi Wurrung language) was developed after consultation with the Aboriginal Community over six years ago, with the aims to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 12 to 15 living in the West of Victoria.

The program, run by the Western Bulldogs Community Foundation, in partnership with Mercy Works, aims to educate, engage, and empower young Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander participants living in the West of Victoria through increasing understanding and connection to community, culture, positive self-identity, and leadership.

The program empowers young people by providing an opportunity to engage and develop leadership advocacy skills and develop connections with community by inviting local Aboriginal organisations and key community leaders and speakers to share their knowledge and experiences with the group.

The evidence-based program works in partnership with local community organisations, leaders and schools, providing opportunities for young people to engage in practical and theory based activities within their community.

The program offers a broad range of activities, including:

  • Cultural excursions, practical team building activities, leadership skill development, hearing from respected Aboriginal Elders and leaders as well as AFL visits.
  • Working with local schools in the Ballarat area

The program will be delivered by Indigenous Youth Coordinator, Danielle (a proud Boon Wurrung Woman), both during school time in two-hour workshops and outside of school hours through excursions, including a two-day camp.

The 2023 program will be delivered to over 40 young people in Ballarat, along with the Inner West of Melbourne and Melton, reaching up to 100 young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participants across the three regions.

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