Ngalla Maya chief executive Mervyn Eades helping others turn their lives around


The power of hope: Ngalla Maya chief executive Mervyn Eades.
Picture: Marie Nirme www.communitypix.com.au   d477481
Ngalla Maya chief executive Mervyn Eades helping others turn their lives around
The power of hope: Ngalla Maya chief executive Mervyn Eades. Picture: Marie Nirme www.communitypix.com.au d477481

MORE: Chris Ugle credits Ngalla Maya with turning his life around

LIFE is good for Fremantle-based Ngalla Maya chief executive Mervyn Eades – but it hasn’t always been that way.

The 47-year-old, who was raised by his grandparents after losing his father at a young age, spent almost 20 years in and out of the prison system from the age of 13.

At 31, Mr Eades was released but his younger brother Donald, who was serving a nine-month sentence, took his own life six months in.

OPINION: Ngalla Maya shows everyone has the power to change

Mr Eades said it was that moment he vowed never to return to prison again.

The Belmont resident, who isn’t afraid to tell it how it is, said time in prison was tough. He would spend about 12 hours in a small cell and work for a wage of $3 a day.

And while he isn’t after anyone’s sympathy, he said it was a vicious cycle many found hard to escape.

“It is what it is, it’s not a great place,” he said. “It’s not where I want people to end up, which is why I when I left I knew I needed to do something to help others.”

And helping others is what he has done for the last 15 years after founding Ngalla Maya.

The not-for-profit organisation, which helps the most vulnerable and poorest transform their lives and that of their families, works to inspire and commit former inmates to training and education opportunities leading them to employment.

It is a formula that seems to work with an almost 100 per cent success rate, something Mr Eades credits to experience.

“People believe what we do because I’ve been there, it happened to me and I’m here now,” he said.

“Last week we had our third graduation in recent months for 20 former inmates, homeless and impoverished – and they’ll be off to full-time employment.

“It’s a one-of-a-kind success with the too-hard basket types that are never taken on by others.”

The father of three said those who walked through his door would be surrounded by love, respect and hope – something instilled in him by his grandparents.

“In our culture there is a lot of respect for our elders,” he said.

“I learned some great values through my grandparents and now I’m passing it on to our younger ones and I’m just loving it.

“My success comes from them succeeding and every boy and girl that I see go through the program, makes it all worthwhile.

“When I see them happy, in a better place and providing for their children, it makes me proud.”

Last month the organisation received a $100,000 to deliver training and education three days a week to former indigenous inmates in Fremantle as part of the Impact100 Fremantle project.