21 October 2022

Young people and carers experience a day of connection and cultural learning during Bayindjiila (Little Sister) Day.

A woman wearing black shorts, a pink top and a pink hat stands next to a camp fire smiling at the camera.

The Life Without Barriers North Coast Child, Youth and Family Team organised a school holiday event for a group of young people and carers called Bayindjiila Day.

Bayindjiila (pronounced Bay-in-jill-ah) means Little Sister in Gunggari. The day was organised to bring a group of little sisters into a women’s circle, providing an opportunity to connect with each other and learn more about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture.

This event was held at the Sacred Women’s area (Nungeena) of the Gubbi Gubbi and Jinabarra Nations on the Sunshine Coast near Mount Beewah (Mother Mountain).

Image of the Sacred Women’s area (Nungeena) of the Gubbi Gubbi & Jinabarra Nations on the Sunshine Coast near Mt Beewah (Mother Mountain).

The day began with storytelling, where the young people listened as Aunty Hazelle Mace, a local Aboriginal elder, shared stories about the local Aboriginal land and mountains, highlighting their cultural significance. The young people were invited to be curious and ask any questions they had about the stories and Aboriginal culture.

Following the storytelling session, the young people, carers, and staff worked together to get a fire going and cooked up some damper for lunch. The group then went on a bush walk to a local sacred site for women’s business.

The rest of the afternoon was spent creating a group painting, followed by some downtime reading books and connecting through play.

The group's artwork started in memory of the day. All participants put a thumbprint and the youngest put her hand print on the piece.

For the young people we support, Bayindjiila Day was a very positive experience, filled with opportunities for fostering connections, whilst building on their skills, and developing their knowledge about local Aboriginal culture.

Children sitting on picnic rugs reading picture books.

The day also provided a safe and positive space for conversations about body image, self-esteem, and women’s empowerment.

“The purposeful gathering of young women into safe and sacred women’s circles is an ancient practice of Aboriginal culture, it is the foundation that forms ‘Women’s Business’. It gives young women the opportunity to build community, use their voices, be seen and share in the wisdom of older women in the circle.” Shared Clea, Education Consultant.  

“Bayindjilla day was a beautiful day as young girls, women, female staff and carers all gathered and connected on Country.”

Two women standing outside in the sun with their arms on each other.

Image: Clea and her daughter at Bayindjiila Day.

Each participant left the day with new connections, knowledge, and skills and some take-home educational resources from Life Without Barriers’ Hook Into Books campaign.

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