9 February 2023

Roxanne is supported with trips to Country and an active life back home.

Image: Roxanne, wearing an orange bucket hat, a white t-shirt and floral shorts, stands with members of her family, smiling at the camera.

Roxanne loves her family more than anything in the world and was excited for her recent trip home to Groote Eylandt. It was the second trip home in six months for Roxanne, who lives in Darwin.

“I love visiting Umbakumba and love to sit with my mum, my brother, my grandmother and other family members." Said Roxanne.

"We talk, laugh and cook damper in the fire!”

On this trip, Roxanne and her support team arrived at Groote Eylandt airport and then travelled by boat to the island of her home community of Umbakumba. Roxanne stayed for two nights and spent a lot of time reconnecting with her family on Country.

Image: Roxanne, wearing striped pants, a grey t-shirt and a tan hat, stands out in a field, feeding a horse.

Roxanne's community is in a beautiful part of Australia, and there was so much excitement for her and her family during the visit. She took food for her family, as is custom, and brought two very large turtles home, which she ate with much pleasure! 

The trip enabled Roxanne and her family to share information and relate experiences through yarning – keeping alive a long-held Aboriginal tradition.

Image: A collage of photos of Roxanne and her family during her return to Country trip.

Roxanne has complex health needs that unfortunately cannot be supported in the way she needs in her remote island home, so she lives in Darwin. Life Without Barriers plays an active role in her day-to-day life, as well as facilitating and supporting Roxanne to return to Country, using the trips as an opportunity also to build ties with Roxanne’s family. 

Roxanne’s support workers have worked with her for a long time. They enjoy spending time with the lively, fun and charismatic 20-year-old. They know that she loves being at home with her family, so saying goodbye at the end of each trip can be upsetting for her.

Working with behaviour support specialists helps Roxanne through the process. They help her to understand what is happening, and that she will see her family again.

Image: Roxanne, wearing jeans and a yellow t-shirt, hugs a member of her family, who is wearing a yellow and purple t-shirt and skirt, holding a suitcase.

Having the next trip to look forward to greatly helps with Roxanne’s mental health. There is a whiteboard in her house that shows Roxanne what is happening. The board helps Roxanne to know when her next return to Country is and when her family are coming to visit her in Darwin next. Roxanne's support team help her to prepare for her family's arrival and when they leave again.

Life Without Barriers, Country Connect (a community access provider), Roxanne and her family work together to plan the trips to support her in reaching her goal of visiting home every three months. By working together, we are exploring and identifying more inclusive ways to enable Roxanne to have better interactions and connections with her family and community. 

In Darwin, Roxanne leads a full and busy life. Roxanne attends Country Connect programs twice a week, giving her the opportunity to connect with her culture. Having a connection to culture and the land is vital for Roxanne’s wellbeing.

Image: Roxanne at a nail salon, showing off her freshly painted nails.

Roxanne loves fashion and uses the money she earns, from working at a recycling facility, to shop! "I love going out to the community. I am excited about going swimming and feeding the horses. On Sundays, I go to church, and I like to pray,” said Roxanne about the things she likes doing in Darwin.

Recently, Roxanne’s mum visited her for a month. Roxanne and her mum loved the precious time together and celebrated Roxanne’s 20th birthday. Roxanne chose her own outfit (a sharp, 1920s Gangster-inspired ensemble) and held a party with her friends. Good food, music, dancing and good times flowed – everyone had a ball.

“I enjoyed my party. I had fun,” she laughed.

“I loved my outfit. Mum was at my birthday and my friends too. I danced and ate a lot of food.”

Image: A collage of photos from Roxanne's birthday party.

We are dedicated to supporting Roxanne to remain in close contact with her community and live her life to the fullest at her Darwin home. The return to Country trips, regular communication with her family, and Country Connect activities, have enhanced her individual sense of well-being. Her support workers have seen a big shift in her mood since her trips home and greater contact with her family.

“I am flying to Umbakumba soon,” Roxanne said, giggling with happiness.

“I will sit on the aeroplane, wear my seat belt, and look around through the window. I will hug mum and everyone once I see them. Then give them the chicken and candy I brought for them. We'll cook damper later.”

A person's story is precious. We take storytelling seriously. Sometimes people are able to tell their own story, and we love that. We always make sure they give us their ok, and we will always honour the trust placed in us to bring their story forward.

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