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Sydney family to make a difference in remote indigenous communities - dailytelegraph.com.au

A LITTLE Bay family is doing big things to reach out to children living in indigenous communities in far north Queensland.

Karinda Bani gave up her job in public health 12 months ago, with a strong desire to use her knowledge to help address the unique challenges faces by families living in remote communities.

With former Sea Eagles and Cowboys NRL player husband Michael Bani by her side, Karinda established Kayin Revolution, and the pair set to work on their first project: a clothing drive.

“My husband is a Torres Strait Islander from a small community, and we live the cultural term ‘close the gap’ every day,” Mrs Bani said.

Sydney family to make a difference in remote indigenous communities - dailytelegraph.com.aumedia_cameraThe children from Mabuiag Island, Torres Strait will be among those who benefit from the Kayin Revolution project. Picture: supplied.Sydney family to make a difference in remote indigenous communities - dailytelegraph.com.aumedia_cameraAll clothes collected will be spent to Cairns by road.

“We wanted to take my knowledge of public health, nutrition and mental health, and teach those things through traditional culture and spirituality, bringing the two worlds together.

“I’ve taken a big risk leaving work, but I really think we can make this a success.”

The Banis took inspiration from the generosity of loved ones who gave them clothes to help them out with their own four children — and wanted to extend that to others.

They are collecting clothing donations and will then pack it all in to a truck and head to Cairns by road, where it will be shipped across to the Torres Strait Islands.

“Being in remote communities, there’s no option for the families to go to Kmart or whatever to pick up new clothes when they need them, so they have to go to the mainland or order them online at a huge cost,” Mrs Bani said.

“The idea is to sell these clothes for a donation, then put the money raised back in to the community.

Sydney family to make a difference in remote indigenous communities - dailytelegraph.com.aumedia_cameraBack in the day: Michael Bani playing for the Sea Eagles. Picture: NRL

“The amount we’ve been given already by family and friends alone is unreal, everyone has been so keen to jump on board and help out, it’s overwhelming.”

The Banis will spend the April school holidays in the islands, bringing cultural practices, health, nutrition and mental health awareness to the kids in a fun way.

“By speaking with elders and family members up there we’ve found there’s nothing really sustainable happening as far as those type of programs are concerned,” Mrs Bani said.

“We hope what we’re teaching in the school holiday camp will infiltrate into the communities and be an ongoing thing ... the clothes drive is just a small part of the bigger picture.

“We’d also eventually love to start a community group here in Little Bay to meet every week or fortnight or so ... it would be a great way to engage the local, dynamic communities in the eastern suburbs.”

To donate to the Kayin Revolution project click here

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