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Generous AMA members provide hope of a better life

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Indigenous children living in a remote community in far north Queensland will be able to continue attending holiday and leadership camps run by AMA member Dr Lara Wieland following a successful appeal for funds.

The AMAQ Foundation has reported the Christmas charity drive raised $44,041, which will be used to buy a used 11-seat four wheel drive to transport children from the Gulf of Carpentaria town Kowanyama to and from the camps.

Dr Wieland, who is a member of the AMA Indigenous Health Taskforce, has spent the past 13 years living and working in Indigenous communities in far north Queensland, and established the Out There Kowanyama holiday and leadership camps program to provide a positive experience for local children, many of whom come from difficult backgrounds and live in a community with high levels of social dysfunction.

Dr Wieland said Kowanyama was very remote, and the surrounding terrain was harsh, meaning that transport is a huge issue.

She said the appeal’s success had allayed concerns that the camps program would need to be wound up.

 “These camps are vital for educating the children about hygiene, healthy food choices, budgeting, shopping and behaviour in preparation for boarding school and life outside the community,” Dr Wieland said. “But they get so much more out of it than that. It goes beyond the learning, health promotion and sports activities. The program instils confidence, resilience and self-belief in these kids.”

She paid tribute to the generosity and compassion of all those who contributed to the appeal.

“What we’re able to provide for the kids and teach them while they’re with us is truly life changing for them, and you can be proud that you’re now a part of that,” she said.

Adrian Rollins