Empowering Indigenous Women in East Arnhem Land


Indigenous babies are more than twice as likely to be born too early and four times more likely to be born too small than non-Aboriginal babies in Australia.


But this community has a plan to change that.


The doula school is part of a project called Caring for Mum on Country. The project also aims to improve reproductive health literacy in Galiwin’ku and empower the community to have a say about how birthing services need to be run in Yolngu country.


Yolngu woman Elaine Lawurrpa Maypilama, one of the project’s leads, has been calling for a Yolngu birthing space to be built in Galiwin’ku for nearly eight years. She believes it will help mums get better care and attend more appointments, leading to healthier babies.


“They knew the old way of doing it, the Yolngu way,” Lawurrpa, explained. “They had the knowledge because of what they did or what they saw from their mother, grandmother, and they themselves had their baby on homeland. “It made me strong and happy.”