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Social work celebrations in Subi

Earthwise Community Gardens in the City of Subiaco became the perfect setting for a breakfast on Tuesday 21 March to celebrate International Social Work Day, 2017.


Back row: Nyungah Elder Walter Eatts, Michael Berry (AASW President), Dr Marilyn Palmer (ECU), Dr Antonia Hendrick (Curtin). Front row: Elder Doolann Eatts, Glenda Kickett, Dr Sue Bailey (Kind Spaces), Judy Fisher, Paddi Creevey
Back row: Nyungah Elder Walter Eatts, Michael Berry (AASW President), Dr Marilyn Palmer (ECU), Dr Antonia Hendrick (Curtin). Front row: Elder Doolann Eatts, Glenda Kickett, Dr Sue Bailey (Kind Spaces), Judy Fisher, Paddi Creevey

The venue was chosen by the hosts, the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW) Eco-Social Work Practice Group, to highlight the theme of the global celebration: Promoting Community and Environmental Sustainability.  The AASW, Kind Spaces Consultancy and the social work programs at Curtin University and Edith Cowan University co-sponsored the event.

Nyungah Elders, Mr and Mrs Eatts, spoke a Welcome to Country and highlighted the significance of Country to Aboriginal people’s spirituality and identity; they powerfully made the point that while European settlers talk of living off the land, Aboriginal peoples understand how we need to live on and with the land.

Nyungah Elders Mr and Mrs Eatts spoke a Welcome to Country.
Nyungah Elders Mr and Mrs Eatts spoke a Welcome to Country.

Over breakfast, social workers Glenda Kickett and Paddi Creevey, and ecologist Judy Fisher, spoke about why ecological justice (caring equally for Country and people) is so important, and what social workers can do to contribute towards this. Richard Yin from Doctors for the Environment encouraged social workers in the audience to work with other professions and communities to achieve the goal of community and environmental sustainability.

Group spokesperson, Dr Sue Bailey from Kind Spaces, couldn’t speak highly enough of Earthwise as a venue for the event.

“It worked exactly as we hoped it would,” Dr Bailey said.

“Community gardens represent the coming together of respect for the land and human dignity; they are places where people grow, prepare and share food together. Something as simple as this can be the beginning of building a society which is ecologically and socially fair and therefore sustainable.”

Contributed by: Dr Antonia Hendrick, Lecturer, School of Occupational Therapy and Social Work.