Jiji, meaning ‘young children’ in Martu, is an innovative program providing final-year speech pathology and occupational therapy students the opportunity to complete a placement in the remote Pilbara Aboriginal communities of Punmu and Jigalong.
Jiji aims to:
- improve Martu children’s health and education access
- work with families to engage communities in their own healthcare
- build the capacity of families and school staff
- help build future recruitment of allied health professionals to remote areas
- collaborate with and support existing allied health service providers in the region.
Students and supervisors live and practice within the Martu communities. Through this immersive experience, they are able to build an understanding of Martu culture, language and recent history, the barriers that Aboriginal people face in accessing a westernised healthcare and education system, and a greater awareness of culturally safe service provision.
Students strengthen their discipline-specific skills and learn how to work in small, interprofessional teams.
I found this a challenging placement but equally so enriching. I have never laughed so much with the great company that I had. I felt what job satisfaction is. I really am very grateful for being on the Jiji programme.