Closing the gap after prison
NGALLA Maya may just be a pebble in the water, but the ripples are farreaching for local Aboriginal families.
The Belmont-based not-for-profit organisation offers a variety of services to help the indigenous and disadvantaged communities, specialising in helping people find work after prison.
It recently received a $5000 volunteer grant from the Department of Social Services.
“We’ve run for nearly three years with nothing. Sometimes our phones get turned off,” Ngalla Maya chief executive and Noongar man Mervyn Eades said.
Mr Eades, who was first in the justice system at just 13 years old and has been out of prison for 15 years, knows first-hand what services are needed.
“As lived experience I’ve been in prison, and coming out I knew that there’s a gap in the community that doesn’t create realistic opportunities of education, training and employment for our brothers and sisters,” Mr Eades said.
“My thought at the time was to close the gap, close the prison-to-community gap, and give opportunities to these boys and girls – some self-hope and self-worth.
“If they get engaged in training and get qualifications and get into jobs, that changes the dynamics of their families and their children. It’s just a small pebble chucked into the water with a little ripple effect.”
Grateful Ngalla Maya – Noongar for ‘our place’ – graduates came back to help Mr Eades and his team when the centre was struggling to make rent last year.
“They heard we weren’t travelling too well and in jeopardy of having the doors shut, even though the landlord helps us so much and goes out of his way,” Mr Eades said.
To find out more about Ngalla Maya or donate, visit its website at ngallamaya.org.au.