Flying together, supporting the flock
“Technology can be used to abuse or track individuals. It’s important our clients have access to computers and technology in an environment that's supportive and informative.” – Sharyn Potts
It’s a common misconception that when geese fly in a flock or V-formation the bird at the front is the only leader of the group.
In fact, the birds will work together and rotate positions. By doing so, the whole group are able to travel further than if they were flying solo.
The word yarredi refers to the local Indigenous name for the Cape Barren goose. On the lands of the Barngarla people in what is now known as Port Lincoln in South Australia, another group known as Yarredi similarly work together to foster positive shared outcomes.
Founded in 1979, Yarredi Services provides a range of specialist domestic and family violence (DFV) services to local women and children including specialist counselling, a therapeutic children's wellbeing program, practical assistance for women and children who have experienced DFV, and crisis accommodation.
According to Executive Officer Sharyn Potts, the analogy of yarredi working together to fly further ties in closely with the work done by the organisation to provide support to clients in need.
“It's about teamwork, encouragement, support, respect, leadership and a sense of community,” she explains. “We pride ourselves on our teamwork and supporting each other so we're able to provide services to clients who need support.”
Sadly, the effects of DFV are well known in Australia. One-in-three women experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime and DFV is the leading cause of death, illness and disability for women aged under 45.
Granting a renewed future
Yarredi Services have worked in collaboration with South Australia Police, local health services, Aboriginal health services and other not-for-profit agencies to develop a Women's Wellbeing and Safety Centre in Port Lincoln. The Centre is dedicated to the safety and needs of a diverse range of women and children affected by DFV with a range of co-located services available in a welcoming and safe environment.
As part of developing the Centre, ANZ and the Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR) have provided a financial grant to Yarredi through the long-running Seeds of Renewal program to purchase a range of laptops and office equipment to be used by clients. Sharyn says the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted even further the need for access to secure technology for women looking to grow their independence and empowerment.
“The laptops will be used by domestic and family violence clients - both past and present - for study, looking for work or housing and other services,” she says. “They will also be used by families and young people in crisis accommodation as a way of keeping up with school while in transitional housing.”
However, Sharyn says education is also necessary so clients can remain safe online.
“Technology can be used to abuse or track individuals. It’s important our clients have access to computers and technology in an environment that's supportive and informative. We want them to be able to put resumes together and manage their banking while learning information about how to avoid being tracked.”
ANZ and the FRRR awarded $A250,000 in grants to 22 regional community groups and not-for-profit organisations as part of the 2021 program. Since being established in 2003, ANZ Seeds of Renewal has awarded $A5.25 million to more than 800 projects.
For Sharyn, true success for Yarredi would mean their services were no longer needed but she is aware the reality is that DFV is sadly a systemic issue which is unlikely to be easily fixed.
“I'm hoping people won't stand by and think it's not their business anymore,” she says. “I want women to feel more empowered and be able to stand up against DFV. But I equally want men to stand up and say this kind of behaviour – whether it be trivialising sexist language as ‘just a joke’ or something more sinister - is not okay.”
“Our mission is really to champion a more respectful and connected community through the promotion of equity, human rights and social justice.”
Jenefer Stewart is General Manager for Business Banking at ANZ
Flying together, supporting the flock
ANZ Seeds of Renewal gives rural and regional communities a $250,000 boost