Peer support helps Aboriginal parents

Ngala Aboriginal peer support worker Sharnie Websdale with her daughter Matesha Ugle.
Ngala Aboriginal peer support worker Sharnie Websdale with her daughter Matesha Ugle.

Early parenting and childhood service provider Ngala, in Midland, launched the Aboriginal Peer Support Program on Wednesday.

It provides support and advice to families at home, with the aim of strengthening children’s language, social development, cognitive ability, nutrition and health, while also building parents’ self-esteem and parenting skills.

Four Aboriginal peer support workers and a non-Aboriginal parent support worker ” all of whom are mothers ” have been employed for the program.

Ngala indigenous co-ordinator Kerryn Lewis said the support workers were chosen for their spark, drive and instinct, and will act as role models to parents who need help.

‘These women prove achievable outcomes can be made by parents in this community, no matter what issues or struggles they might have,’ Ms Lewis said.

Parent support worker Tina Dean said one of the most dominant issues Aboriginal women faced was accommodation and housing.

‘The rents are criminal and there’s a huge waiting list for public housing,’ she said.

‘How can parents be the best they can be when they don’t have a solid base? That uncertainty is huge and it affects all aspects of a person’s life.’

Aboriginal peer support worker Michelle Holmes, who is a mother of four, said she applied for the position because she wanted to give something back to her community.

‘I want to be able to play a small part in helping Aboriginal mums, whether it’s just sitting down with them and having a cuppa and a yarn,’ she said..

Ultimately, the support workers hope to empower the mothers and families so they can take control over their own lives. For information or to get in touch with a Ngala support worker call 9368 9308.