Health Programs – Bourke MAYI Festival
The Aboriginal Health & Medical Research Council of NSW (AH&MRC) approached the Bourke
Aboriginal Corporation Health Service (BACHS) to work in partnership on delivering a community
event that promoted the importance of annual Aboriginal Health checks (also known as 715s’).
Conveniently, BACHS were in the planning phases of convening the first community event since the
COVID-19 outbreak, known as the MAYI festival. The event was a day of remembrance and healing
MAYI’s meaning derived from the many clan groups that reside in Bourke and close surrounding
areas, originally being that there were 22, and has since been found that there are now around 15
clan groups residing in Bourke. The meaning of MAYI (meaning ‘one’) was introduced by Uncle Phil
Saunders, who opened the event with a warm welcome to the many people that were in
attendance, expressing the importance to the meaning of the event, Uncle Phil Saunders said that
‘’there are many things that make us different, but for this brief moment, we are one, one mob,
standing together on such an important and special day’’.
The AH&MRC sponsored the event and were invited to set up a stall to promote the Your Health, Your
Future (YHYF) program. The Your Health Your Future program seeks to enhance health literacy,
increase awareness and knowledge of annual health checks, and provide further engagement though
health promotional days at a community level in collaboration with member services. The
messaging and engagement with Aboriginal Communities by the AH&MRC serves to be culturally safe,
educational, and effortlessly drawn off the effective mode of health promotion through modelling on
lived experience and understanding the structural theories of Aboriginal perspectives.
The program aims to utilise 2 models of health those of that being the social and health promotion
models. Ultimately the program engages directly with community and works collaboratively with
member services to increase health education through the promotion of the importance of annual
Your Health Your Future promotes the concept of self-determination and encourages Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander People to take care of their health.
Your Health not only centralises around one being, or an individual, it targets Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander people as a collective. It encourages individuals to not only be in control of their
health, but to promote the importance of all health, to all people.
Your Future is a key component of taking care of physical, mental, and spiritual health, it promotes
the concept of staying healthy for one and all’s future. Future is dependant of knowledge, kin, and
The YHYF artwork represents AH&MRC’s commitment to ensuring access to high quality health care services for Aboriginal communities, the colours used show the connection to our land and the importance of this in our health journey. Each element points to the health challenges that our people face and the journey to healing -Aleera Baker, Artist
The AH&MRC engaged community members at the MAYI festival through the promotion of
merchandise, inclusive of shirts, lunch boxes, backpacks, yoga mats, sportswear, football’s, and
umbrellas and fun activities for kids and adults that depicted aspects of good health.
Activities involved in getting the merchandise consisted of completing a video promoting what good
health is, how community take care of there health or simply saying ‘Your Health, Your Future’.
Community was also encouraged to utilize their local Aboriginal Medical Service (AMS) if they were
interested in receiving more merchandise, and education was subtly provided about the annual
Aboriginal Health Checks (715s).
Throughout the day, there was great uptake of these videos’, consent was sought, and information
was provided on the futuristic use of the videos captured. Overall, community members were really
encouraging and enthusiastic in participating in the activities. A collated video of communities
yarning about ‘your health, your future’, will be provided to BACHS on completion.
The entire day met the expectation of its meaning through bringing community together as ‘one’,
storytelling, yarning and laughing –
The AH&MRC were so proud to be apart of such a significant event in the Bourke community, and
thank the community for being so welcoming, and participating in the promotion of the importance
of ‘stepping up, for a checkup’ (YHYF).