Week 4 - Michaela's Story, Australia

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Hope requires that we spin a few dreams for ourselves that are possible, doable and desirable.
Joan Chittister OSB

Twenty-one year-old Michaela is helping to build a social enterprise for people with chronic illnesses at The Purple House in Alice Springs. Featured in Project Compassion 2014, the First Australian-run Wellbeing Program uses its profits to connect and care for dialysis patients who are far from home.

As a Purple House trainee, Michaela completed a Certificate IV in business management. She was also recently promoted from administration trainee to permanent employee, working on The Wellbeing Program.

The young Alywarr woman cares for patients as they receive dialysis and helps them to feel at home and remain hopeful during treatment. Patients in turn pass on traditional knowledge to Michaela.

The program is run by the Western Desert Nganampa Walytja Palyantjaku Tjutaku Aboriginal Corporation, with support from Caritas Australia.

First Australians are twice as likely to experience chronic kidney disease, and four times more likely to die from it than other Australians*.

With the help of staff like Michaela, the Aboriginal-controlled service gives patients the opportunity to stay connected with their culture. They do this through traditional healing practices and income-generating activities, such as making bush balms and soaps.

Profits are invested back into supporting patients receiving remote care and help to get people on dialysis back on country.

In addition to completing her studies, Michaela has obtained a driver’s licence, is building her leadership skills running workshops solo. 

“Hope means having something to look forward to,” Michaela says. “I enjoy building relationships with the patients and learning from them. If we keep our culture alive we can feel strong.” 

*Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2017

Watch Michaela's story HERE>

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