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Horse power guides Aboriginal youth through life’s challenges

Mineral Resources’ (MRL) partnership with Telethon Kids Institute (TKI) is helping to enhance the social and emotional wellbeing for young Aboriginal people in Western Australia.

We’re proud to commit our support as Principal Partner of  Yawardani Jan-ga – an Equine Assisted Learning (EAL) program adapted to provide trauma-informed, culturally secure and strengths-based support to Aboriginal children and young people.

Through MRL’s longstanding support of Telethon – including the Perth Children’s Hospital Foundation and TKI – we’re supporting research collaborations that improve the health and wellbeing of children.

Based in Broome, Yawardani Jan-ga (meaning ‘horses helping’ in Yawuru language) harnesses the healing power of horses through innovative experiential learning to help Aboriginal young people and children develop new skills and cope with life’s challenges.

The program is led by Professor Juli Coffin – Ellison Fellow of Aboriginal Health at Telethon Kids Institute – and supported by a local team committed to delivering positive social and emotional outcomes for young Aboriginal people aged 6-25 years.

Professor Coffin runs Yawardani Jan-ga as a research project to evaluate the impact on the social and emotional wellbeing of young people, and has long aspired to make the program available to more Aboriginal communities across the Kimberley.

MRL is helping turn that vision into reality by supporting the program’s acquisition of a custom-built, four-horse truck enabling the Yawardani Jan-ga team to reach more young people in more places.

“I can never say enough about how grateful we are for MRL’s incredible support of this program,” Professor Coffin said.

“To get us to this point of being mobile, in addition to our existing physical sites will value add, it means perhaps one day we will see Yawardani Jan-ga reach its potential and see our young people, no matter where they are, also reach their potential.”

MRL Managing Director, Chris Ellison, said the Yawardani Jan-ga program demonstrates a clear commitment to supporting local people and communities, which is a priority shared by the WA mining company.

“We are tremendously proud to support Professor Coffin and Yawardani Jan-ga in helping ensure as many young people as possible can access and benefit from this life-changing program,” Ellison said.

“Mineral Resources has a rich history supporting organisations and initiatives that build healthier, happier communities – which is why we’re excited to see the positive impact this program will continue to deliver for young Aboriginal people and communities in WA.”

While promoting emotional healing and building leadership skills in children and young people, Yawardani Jan-ga is also helping to grow its Aboriginal workforce by training EAL practitioners.

Now the team has wheels, Professor Coffin plans to eventually expand the program into the Pilbara.

We’ve already had lots of enquiries from the region but just couldn’t physically get there,” she said.

“This truck allows us to be more responsive and present communities where the need arises.”

Supporting the WA community

As a proud WA company employing over 4,500 staff – many who work in remote communities with young families of their own – we’re delighted to get behind programs that help drive positive social and emotional wellbeing outcomes for Aboriginal children and families.

It’s all part of our commitment to supporting the WA community through charitable donations and long-term partnerships that help the most vulnerable and make a difference in people’s lives.

For more information on MRL’s partnerships, head to our Community page.