Success stories from the frontline of Aboriginal health

Success stories, In the field, Indigenous Australia article written on the 27 May 2011

“A picture is worth a thousand words.” Never has this old saying been more apt, as digital technologies enable us to tell stories in new and powerful ways.

Recently, Oxfam Australia – in partnership with the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO), the Victorian Department of Health, and a number of Victorian mainstream and community-controlled health organisations – ran three digital story-telling workshops for Victorian Aboriginal health workers. Participants learned how to use images, video and audio to create personal multimedia stories about their work.

The result? A series of inspiring, first-hand testimonials about how Aboriginal health workers are striving to close the Indigenous life expectancy gap.

Participant Jock Peterson’s video depicts his experiences working for an Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation in regional Victoria. “Where I work, rates of chronic disease such as diabetes are extremely high and I’m hoping by telling my story people will get a better understanding of the work we are doing in the community to address these health issues,” he says.

Penny Wagstaff emerged from the workshops a convert to the digital story-telling cause. “Three minutes when you’ve got [members of the Aboriginal] community actually talking, and photographs of community people … that can convey more than hundreds of words.”

The project is part of The Aboriginal Health Promotion and Chronic Care (AHPACC) program that has forged bold partnerships between Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations and community health services throughout Victoria. “The positive experiences of Aboriginal health workers don’t get told enough, which is why we want to celebrate and share these stories,” explains VACCHO CEO Jill Gallagher.

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