In 2019, Bawurra Foundation has set itself a goal to focus on 'Community First', and this new series 'From the Roo's Mouth' covers the many diverse individuals who work within our own Foundation and Community. For our first in this series, our Programs Coordinator Angelica Ojinnaka gave us her story about how she found her way into the Bawurra family.
My full name is Angelica Chinemerem Okereke Ojinnaka (a bit of a mouthful). I was born
and raised in Australia, but both my parents are Nigerian; and I currently study a Bachelor of Psychology (Honours) at Macquarie University.
As a Psychology student, it’s super important to try and gain experience in a range of areas. [Before Bawurra] I was looking at the time to be involved in an organisation that was dedicated to wellbeing in Indigenous communities. At the time, I was completely ignorant of the topic of wellbeing for our First Nation peoples. I looked for very long for something, until I saw that the Bawurra Foundation was looking for Psychology Interns. I had heard of Bawurra at a Macquarie Global Leadership Program event that was raising money for the Foundation, so I was over the moon! I applied, and the rest is history!
When I was looking to involve myself more in the community, I recognised that I had a very big lack of cultural competency in regards to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Bawurra was a growing team that was looking to really step out of what is being currently done in education and wellbeing for Indigenous youth. I love kids and I love culture, so Bawurra just seemed like the right fit! The fact that the base is right on my university campus was a bonus too!
The first role that I took was a Psychology Intern, and working to create content for the digital library. Since then, I have assisted with the Evaluations Team and now help with the People and Culture Team.
Because I am currently under People and Culture, I love that I get to look at the internal team and help the People and Culture Team in making sure the internal staff are okay. I also love how proactive the Foundation is in going out to schools to show the library, and to really engage with the needs of the community (I cannot wait to go on a Bawurra trip myself!).
I love that I have also gotten to attend various events representing Bawurra, where I get to tell others about the amazing work Bawurra does, and also enhance my understanding of our Indigenous community.
That kind of thing is important to me. Community is my life. Because my background is Nigerian, I have been raised in a very interdependent community-based environment. That means that how people are treated is so important in everything I do and I always look at others before myself. That also comes with being the eldest of nine siblings!
I believe that without community support within a work environment, outside and online, we are going to experience serious challenges in social functioning in the future. I love how much diversity there is in community and if we do not address all aspects of our community, then people will feel neglected and forgotten.
I already feel that so many people have no connection to their Indigenous communities here, and it's time to change that.
I am definitely excited to see us reach the 300 pieces of content vision. 300 is a big number! The Library is going to look amazing once we have so much content in it. I am super excited to go on a Bawurra trip to rural schools, and I am also looking forward to more exposure of the Foundation.
One of my favourite quotes is by Dr Maya Angelou and it says, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
I feel like this quote says it all when it comes to community. We should NEVER make anyone of any community feel left out and unappreciated.