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Friends from Down Under welcomed to Bentham
3:00am Sunday 18th May 2014 in News
The founder of an arts and health centre in Bentham welcomed old friends from Western Australia.
Alison Clough, creative director of Pioneer Projects, created links with Aboriginal arts and health centre Wongutha Birni in Kalgoorlie, where she worked in 2008.
She has now welcomed Aboriginal family Geoffrey, Christine and Annette Stokes, from the Kalgoorlie centre, to Looking Well in Bentham.
“I couldn’t have been further away from Bentham but when I walked in to Wongutha Birni, I was surprised to find it was remarkably similar to Looking Well,” said Alison.
Looking Well, set up with the community in 1997, and Wongutha Birni have kept in touch and hope to find opportunities to work together in the future.
“The problems Aboriginal people face in Australia are rtruly staggering compared to here but we use the same tools and techniques so we can learn a lot from each other,” said Alison.
Their current project, the Western Desert Kidney Health Project, aims to reduce kidney disease and diabetes in the vast Goldfields area.
With the aid of two six-tonne trucks, they cover an area about the size of Great Britain populated by less than 8,000 Aboriginal people, whose average life expectancy is 38 years for men and 42 for women.