Intercultural Wellbeing Foundation
Posted 1997. Latest Update August, 2014.
Enabling wellbeing action among Indigenous and Oppressed Small Minorities in the East Asia Oceania Australasia Region. Actions address relief from trauma, oppression, poverty, sickness, misfortune, destitution, illness, as well as help for sufferers of emotional, domestic, physical, social and mental pressures, distress and trauma.
The Intercultural Wellbeing Foundation has been formed by healers from the above focus groups and other intercultural healers from other self-help and mutual help groups and networks in the Australasia East Asia Oceania Region including UN-Inma, Connexion, Nexus Groups and Inma Nelps.
The Foundation is not connected with any political group, faction or religion. It respects spiritual and cultural diversity. The Total Care Foundation Inc. acts as an auspicing body for receiving donations to the Intercultural Wellbeing Foundation.
Following over twenty five years of action, the Foundation has been formed to enable wellbeing action and to receive funding from the public. Remoteness means that funding travel and communication are major issues. To ensure the cultural integrity of wellbeing action and process, non-government funding is rarely used. The focus of the Foundation's action includes all forms of wellness including (in no particular order) cultural, clan, personal, family, mental, interpersonal, spiritual, emotional, psychological, physical, communal, inter-family, habitat, village, inter-village inter-religious, inter-clan, environmental, inter-factional, economic, and inter-cultural wellness.
Scattered throughout the East Asia Oceania Australasia Region are people who are acting locally to address wellbeing issues. They draw on their own local healing ways.
As well, they link with others engaged in similar action in other remote places. This dispersed, though linked healing action has been evolving for over twenty five years. 'What works' is shared within the network and adapted to meet local healing ways.
The Foundation sets up the possibilities for culturally appropriate healing contexts and healing. Examples of current action:
o Stopping petrol sniffing - even children as young as four have been permanently brain damaged from this practice
o Keeping adolescents and adults from being incarcerated in prisons, lockups and mental institutions
o Women having the ability to dissipate domestic and community violence
o People having the ability to mediate between dissenters as well as resolve conflict
o reconciliatory action and the rebuilding of family and community relationships and links with those in their homelands in remote regions and on offshore Islands
o the sheer size and remoteness of the Australian bush
o ongoing traumatizing sustained for over 100 years
o having healing ways sensitive to local cultural ways
o local people having cultural ambivalence and disinterest in 'trauma service delivery' by 'bureaucracy backed experts'
o the high costs involved in using a 'service delivery' option
o concern about 'strings attached' to government funding
The consensus of action is using the local natural and traditional nurturers as the starting point. Locals already seek these nurturers out for support. This communal-centred, self-help, and mutual help, is in keeping with Indigenous and small minority traditional ways. Our experience is that these natural nurturers can heal themselves and help others heal themselves.
The Foundation is providing possibilities of 'healing action' to these local nurturers who are themselves in need. Refer Wounded Healer Wounded Group. They may energise the evolution of more nurturers, who in turn may pass healing ways on to others. The self-help network!
Founding members, and other enablers linked to the Foundation have been seeking out the healing wisdoms of indigenous and small minorities in the Region for over thirty years. Extensive links have been made with small local wellbeing action throughout the East Asia Oceania Australasia region.
In addition to the local nurturers, the Foundation may be able to access wellbeing enablers, as resource people, from a diverse array of cultural backgrounds, including:
o West Papuan
o PNG Estuarine
o East Timorese
o Black South African
o Australian South Sea Islander
o Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
All have extensive experience in linking with, and enabling self-help among small minority people. They combine understandings from tertiary education in psychotherapy with traditional healing ways.
Direct action is empowering - creating opportunities for the local nurturer's self-healing, taking on ability over their own lives, and the passing on of the local's micro-experiences to others - towards communal help in resolving wellbeing issues.
Both people involved in healing action and their focus people are living in rural and remote bush contexts. Typically, little or no mental health resources are available. The Foundation energises healing contexts within remote communities or in nearby campout environments. Action involves healing as a part of everyday interaction and celebration.
Apart from prearranged or spontaneous healing, small gatherings are energised; from four to six people through to twenty five or more. Healing ways are used and attendees are invited to use these micro-experiences with each other. At times the Foundation enables larger healing gatherings called HealFests. These combine healing, celebration, gathering and festivities.
For example, members who helped constitute the Foundation enabled the 'SE Asia Oceania Australasia Small Island Estuarine and Coastal People Gathering' held in the Atherton Tablelands in 1994. Further, they also energised the United Nations, the Australian Government, Down to Earth (Vic) and others into providing funding for this Gathering - a small local follow-on to a UN Conference in the Caribbean held earlier in 1994. Extensive healing was carried out during this Atherton Gathering. People attending subsequently reported that they had passed on these healing ways to others in their remote communities.
FLAT ORGANISATION STRUCTURE
The Foundation is an informal flat structure. It neither requires nor uses bureaucracy. Actions are naturally self-organising. Local people engage in local healing action using local wisdoms and knowledge. What is not working is modified so it does work or it is dropped. What works is shared locally and becomes 'the local way' - 'policy' if you like.
Local healing people link with others in other remote locations and success is shared. People take the successes they have heard from other remote areas and try them out by adapting them to local ways and contexts.
In this way, the Foundation's action is neither top-down or bottom-up. It is lateral. It is a loose matrix or network with wellbeing as its function. Action has never been dependent or reliant on Government funding. Action can complement Government services. However, the Foundation's actions have no part in a 'service delivery' model.
The Foundation is modelled on and resonant with Connexion (later called Nexus Groups) a self-help based charity registered in NSW in the 1960's. It is also modelled on and supported by the Total Care Foundation founded by Dr Neville Yeomans and others in NSW Australia in 1968.
There are some professional workers and ex-professionals with the Foundation who have valuable experience and knowledge to bring to use. However, they work according to the Foundation's 'enabling' philosophy and reject the one-sided 'doctor-patient' or 'expert service provider' type of relationship.
The Foundation is building small models of action with the potential to heal the trauma and suffering following man-made disasters. For example, the Foundation has links to the Bougainville Trauma Foundation which is setting up possibilities to provide enabling action supporting large numbers of survivors of torture and trauma following the Bougainville/PNG Conflict late last Century. It is resonant with wider healer networks known by some as Laceweb.