“We know what is best for our kids”
Jennah Dungay is a proud Wiradjuri and Dunghutti young woman from Wellington and Kempsey NSW. Growing up in Redfern, Jennah is a youth ambassador for AbSec and recently completed her Advanced Diploma of Aboriginal Specialised Trauma Counselling.
Jennah spoke at our Family Matters Report 2018 launch on 27 November 2018. Here is Jennah’s story…
“I am a proud Wiradjuri and Dunghutti Woman from Wellington NSW and Kempsey NSW. I grew up in Redfern NSW and I currently live in Redfern NSW.
I grew up in kinship care with many aunties and uncles taking care of me I always remained within my family ties growing up. These aunties and uncles I now consider my second mums and dads. My family originally weren’t foster carers but when I became a child in OOHC they became carers, because that is what we do as Aboriginal people, we adapt and survive like we have for the past 60,000-plus years with our children at the forefront in most cases.
My positive experience growing up is always being told to be proud of my culture. I recently MC’d an event called Rock The Block at Redfern and I’ll tell you all what I told them, as the saying goes it takes a community to raise a child, and the community of Redfern surely was my mother and father many of times.
I wouldn’t change a thing about how I was raised because you have to experience struggle in order to reap success. I didn’t have your latest PlayStation nor did I have the latest clothing brands. What I did have was a higher purpose, a drive that only a child growing up on The Block being exposed to seeing police brutality on my people, children getting taken and drug abuse would have. It puts an everlasting fire in your belly that never goes out. In all things I do, I do it from the point of view of my elders who fought hard for me to have the opportunity to have an education and to be counted in this country.
Our children is everybody’s business from your police officer, doctors, social workers, next door neighbour, your friend’s parents, aunties, uncles – you name it, it’s their business.
What I would like to see change is for the NSW Government and the rest of Australia to listen to us First Nations people.
We know what is best for our kids. We had it right the first time, let’s start to adapt our ways of being into your ways of being.”
The only way to move forward is together with respect, respect for the past and present wrong doings. I would like to see a holistic approach when dealing with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, their parents need help just as much as children need safety.”