Yaru Funds Heartfelt Program in the NT
Funding from The Yaru Foundation has recently helped to enable Red Dust and their local partner Mamanta, to pilot a new Healthy Living Program education module on Tiwi Country in the NT, to raise awareness of rheumatic heart disease.
What is Rheumatic Heart Disease?
Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD) is linked to valve damage in the heart and can occur after an episode of acute rheumatic fever. However, it is more commonly associated with repeated episodes.
Despite RHD being both preventable and life-threatening, Australia experiences some of the highest rates worldwide. Over 5,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander individuals are affected by either RHD or its precursor, Acute Rheumatic Fever (ARF).
About the program:
Red Dust together with Mamanta, developed a pilot of play-based next-generation education modules, for the Red Dust Healthy Living Program.
The pilot program, co-designed with Tiwi-owned consultancy Mamanta, ensured local and cultural relevance. With a specific focus on Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD), the program aimed to educate and empower young people to maintain a healthy heart and protect themselves from the impacts of RHD.
Embedded within the local school holiday program, the team produced three one-day sessions, commencing in the community of Milikapati before heading to Pirlimgimpi, and Wurrumiyanga. The program incorporated a wide range of engaging and interactive play-based learning activities, diving deep into the topic of healthy hearts and RHD.
Some of the most popular play-based activities with the kids included:
- Making sense of blood and the circulatory system, by painting the intricate network of veins that transport blood around the body on a life-sized body map. Registered nurses explained the dynamics of blood flow and educated the kids about the difference between red and white blood cells. Local facilitators and the project team were available to help interpret into Tiwi language when required. Activities were aimed at younger children, but throughout the day older siblings and family members got involved, supporting the learning of younger ones while also learning a few things themselves.
- Painting exercises gave the kids a chance to express what it means to be fit and healthy.
- Exploring what can be done to keep our hearts strong – pupuni ruwuti (good heart) across healthy lifestyles, treatments, and supporting and caring for ourselves and each other through a highly visual and interactive target practice game.
The pilot of this next-generation education module will help inform the ongoing development of additional modules on a range of other health and well-being topics that are locally and culturally relevant for more remote communities.
The Yaru Foundation is proud to support such hands-on projects like this, that inspire future generations to look after their hearts and minds, and we thank all of the Yaru Water customers who help to make these projects possible.