Help us to grow this Island Community

Help us to grow this Island Community

From Eby Mathew

Thursday Island Integrated Community Services

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Thursday Island Integrated Community Services

Australia has two Indigenous Peoples, Aboriginal Australians and Torres Strait Islanders. We acknowledge the past and present elders of all Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal people in the Torres Strait and Northern Peninsula Area. We respect the culture and lore of all Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal people in the region. We recognise the Traditional Owners of the land on which the Torres Strait Islanders operate.

Torres Strait Islanders.

IHO Global will always make every effort to respect Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal people’s cultural sensitivities. However, please be advised that this page may contain images of persons who may have passed away after this project commenced in December 2016 and we offer our apologies for any distress caused if this occurs.

Torres Strait.

The Torres Strait Islands (TSI) are a group of at least 274 islands which lie in Torres Strait. There are 18 islands and 2 Northern Peninsula areas that are inhabited with Torres Strait Islander communities. The islands are scattered over a geographic area of 48,000 square kilometres, from Cape York at the northern tip of Australia, north towards the borders of Papua New Guinea and Indonesia.

Torres Strait Island boy performing tribal dance.

We recognise the importance and diversity of the culture and language of the Torres Strait Island people. The Islanders speak two distinct languages. In the Eastern Islands (Erub, Mer and Ugar) the traditional language is Meriam Mir, while the Western and Central Island groups speak either Kala Lagaw Ya or Kala Kawa Ya, which are dialects of the same language.

Thursday (Waiben) Island is the administrative centre and commercial hub for the Torres Strait Islands. Australian Commonwealth and State government agencies and other services to the region are primarily based on Thursday Island.

Thursday Island.

Thursday Island is 3.5 square kilometres in size with a population of about 5000 people. Thursday Island is more than just an economic bridge, it is the heart of Torres Strait culture.

Torres Strait Aged Care Association (TSACA) is a community care service delivery organisation that provides nursing care, respite, services to the aged Torres Strait Island people living on Thursday Island.

Since its beginning in 2002, TSACA has had no ‘permanent’ community facility or base of operation. TSACA operated out of a small office in the township of Thursday Island. In 2007, an excellent commercial facility became available for lease on the main street in the nexus of the Thursday Island township. The premises has two shopfronts – Shop A and Shop B, with their respective common rooms, offices, kitchens and storage rooms. The premises also has three apartments to accommodate families in need.

Shop A (right) and Shop B (left).

Shop A is leased by TSACA. TSACA provide an invaluable community care service program to the aged, frail and disabled Torres Strait indigenous people who are financially and socially disadvantaged. This target population of indigenous people utterly rely upon the government HACC program to provide income support as their primary source of income to bring relief and improve their quality of life. Their profiles fall into several groups—

  • Indigenous disadvantaged,
  • Homeless people,
  • People with mental illness,
  • Victims of domestic and family violence,
  • People with no carer.
  • Frail older people with functional limitations as a result of moderate, severe or profound disabilities.

Senior Torres Strait Islander.

TSACA provide nursing care, social support; personal care; allied health services; physio, domestic assistance; home maintenance; home modification, exercise activities, assistance with food preparation in the home; delivery of meals; transport, assessment, client care coordination, case management and centre-based day care.

Senior Torres Strait Islander.

The majority of funding for TSACA is sourced from Commonwealth Government Home and Community Care Program (HACC). The overall objective of the Commonwealth HACC Program is to enhance the independence of frail, aged and disabled people and to avoid or delay their premature admission to long term residential care through the provision of basic maintenance, support and care services. TSACA is managed by a full complement of staff – a coordinator, assistant coordinator, two activity officer, two physio assistants and a support worker. All staff have a Certificate III in Aged Care and Disability qualification. TSACA also supply meals to St. John’s Community Care clients.

Primary school children.

The Torres Strait Island culture is deeply connected with their land, their ancestral traditions and their community values. Their cultural identity survives through their children. It is important that Torres Strait Island children have equal opportunity with all Australians. This must be reflected in the delivery of community services.

At the same premises, Shop B is leased by a child care group who provide three children’s programs, namely;

However, the owners of the property [shop A and shop B] have indicated their intention to place the property on the real estate market. However, the elderly, frail and disabled beneficiaries of TSACA need the security and peace of mind that TSACA will be able to carry on their home and community care program.

Mrs. Romina Fujii, the Chair of the TSACA, has an extensive history with the Commonwealth Government Home and Community Care program. Romina understands the importance and the value of the work that TSACA has provided for the indigenous community on Thursday Island.

Whilst the Commonwealth and State governments recognise the value of the work and provide funding for the Torres Strait Aged Care program, they do not provide a building or the funds to purchase a suitable facility to carry on their work.

We have to look to the generosity of the Australian public, private, business and corporate sectors for their help.

Thursday Island Integrated Community Services Project is an initiative undertaken by IHO Global in conjunction with Mrs Fujii, project manager, to raise donor funds for the purchase of this property. This property fulfils the following criteria:

  • A suitable base of operations;
  • A central location in the nexus of the TSI community;
  • A permanent centre for the aged, frail and disabled care;
  • A permanent facility for child care;
  • Accommodation for families in need;
  • Potential for future expansion into an integrated community services facility, with a health clinic for Torres Strait Islanders.

Street view of shop A with rear apartments.

In every country of the world, people have this in-built desire to reach out and help those who are less fortunate than themselves. Australia has recently been ranked as the third most generous nation on the global giving index. Australians are generous givers to worthy causes.

View inside shop A, currently used by Torres Straight Aged Care Association.

This is a rare opportunity to secure the property on Thursday Island as a ‘permanent’ facility for the elderly, the frail, the disabled, the needy and children of Torres Strait origin.

Your donation is a direct reflection of your values and perspectives. You can make a vast difference to the lives of those who are unable to help themselves. By making a donation to Thursday Island Integrated Community Services you are actually leaving behind a legacy for the indigenous people of Australia.

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