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Babbarra celebrates bush Christmas

31 January 2019

To share the Christmas spirit, Babbarra Women's Centre delivered presents to kids and families on remote outstations over the festive season. The presents came from the generous donations of individuals and groups across Australia, and even around the world.
Babbarra Women's Centre Manager Ingrid Johanson said the Centre was thrilled with the generosity. 
“We were amazed to receive so many donations - some even came in from Canada, New Caledonia and China! It shows the power of using social media and the good will across the world,” Ingrid said.
The Babbarra Women’s Centre truck, which is painted with Deborah Wurrkidj's Manwak design, was even further embellished with tinsel to become the Bush Christmas truck. 
Staff and artists from the Babbarra Women’s Centre, part of the Bawinanga Aboriginal Corporation, visited homelands with the car filled with gifts. The homelands visited included Anka-badbirri, Gochan Jiny-Jirra, Buluhkaduru, Bolkdjam, Nangak and Ji-Bena, all in the Western Arnhem Land region.
Assistant Manager and Burarra woman Jessica Phillips said, “Having spent much of my life living on my family homeland Ji-Bena, I know the struggles of living so remote. Everything is hard to access and most people can only ever afford basic food and fuel.”
“Our people have had too many funerals lately too, which has drained a lot of our money. That is why it was so special for us to give gifts out, it really lifts peoples spirits,” Jessica said.
Many people in the Maningrida region still live on their remote outstations, and Bawinanga Aboriginal Corporation services 32 of these. A large number of homelands are cut off in the wet season due to flooding, so people must make the choice to either stay out on country with no access to Maningrida, or move into town for the wet period.
The presents distributed to the homelands kids and families ranged from clothing to toys, books to toiletries - and even a few Christmas cakes. 
Babbarra Women’s Centre has five outstation women’s centres, which have been used for women on homelands to print on textiles, harvest bush foods and weave pandanus. One of these centres at Buluhkaduru homeland has just been renovated, and in the new year more women will be supported to work out there.