Nyawi heals with heart

Nyawi Black is loving being able to make a difference to the loves of Indigenous victim-survivors of family violence. She combines culture with healing as part of her work. 

Nyawi Black loves being able to support Indigenous women who are victim-survivors of family violence.
As a women’s group worker with Boorndawan Willam Aboriginal Healing Service, Nyawi helps facilitate holistic healing groups for clients, drawing on rich cultural practices that offer therapeutic benefits.

Sometimes it could entail making possum skin cloaks or burning on possum skins. Other times, the groups could get busy doing jewellery making.

“The clients love it, and they’re always recommending new stuff,” says Nyawi. “We had a recent recommendation to do shelling, which is creating jewellery out of shells.”

Nyawi is a proud Aboriginal woman whose ancestry lies with the Wamba Wamba, Dhudhuroa, Dja Dja Wurrung and Yorta Yorta people.

After completing a Certificate IV in Alcohol and Other Drugs (AOD) and a Certificate IV in Mental Health with genU Training, Nyawi decided to enrol in Chisholm’s Diploma of Community Services.

“I find my classmates are really like-minded and we are all really passionate about what we’re doing,” says Nyawi.

“The teachers are brilliant. I love their teaching style and the content that they bring, as well as the fact that they do have industry experience.

“The units are not only relevant in industry, but they’re also valuable and human centred. It is  easy for me to stay determined about my studies because the content is realistic – along with being a personal area of interest.”

In her first year, Nyawi did placement at the Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency (VACCA) and really loved the experience.

“I worked in the Lakidjeka team,” says Nyawi. “We were cultural advisory to child protection in relation to the best interests of Indigenous children.”

Nyawi secured a job with Boorndawan Willam Aboriginal Healing Service while still studying and ended up doing her second-year placement there too.

Now she is working part-time and finishing off her study. When she’s not working, her latest passion project is basket weaving.

Nyawi proved to be a superstar student at Chisholm and was nominated as Koorie Student of the Year at the 2023 Chisholm Education Awards.

“I’m really happy with where I’m at at the moment,” she says. “I’m excited to get this course done and go on to the next one.”

At the time of writing this article, Nyawi was planning to do further study but was still weighing up her options. Her advice to others contemplating their careers was to do the same.

“I would recommend weighing up the pros and cons if you’re having difficulty identifying which course you want to do,” she says.

“The Diploma of Community Services is all-encompassing and it has such a wide range of areas you can work in, from mental health and AOD to aged care support.

“It’s such a great qualification if you’re not 100% sure of what you want to do as a career.”