Orana Haven Aboriginal Corporation
Orana Haven is a hostel located in north west New South Wales that provides a rehabilitation service for Aboriginal people suffering from drug and alcohol. It is an initiative of the Aboriginal communities of the Murdi Paaki/Orana Region of NSW in response to the need for a safe, understanding and culturally sensitive sanctuary for Aboriginal people whose lives were being destroyed through the consequences of drug and alcohol abuse.
Orana Haven began operating in Brewarrina in 1982 on the site of the old mission. Recent funding from State and Federal Government agencies has enabled the expansion and relocation of Orana Haven to the village of Gongolgon on the Bogan River, south of Brewarrina.
Now occupying a 10 hectare property, Orana Haven employs a full-time staff of ten people and provides rehabilitation for an average of 150 to 200 people each year. Although many of Orana Haven’s clients are from the local Aboriginal community, its rehabilitation program is also open to non-Aboriginal people. Its peaceful location on the river allows Orana Haven to encourage clients to re-engage in cultural activities as part of their rehabilitation program, including fishing, hunting, painting, tool making and other types of art work.
Clients who come to Orana Haven receive care, support and guidance to help make difficult and profound lifestyle changes. And the treatment works. A wide range of services refer clients—for example, local hospitals, Aboriginal medical services, alcohol and other drugs treatment services, and probation and parole services.
For most it’s their first real chance to gain some sanity and balance in their lives. Typically residents stay for a minimum of three months during which time they learn about community, making healthy choices, putting order into their lives and what it means to have personal responsibility.
At Orana Haven they have the chance to build their self esteem and prepare to rejoin their communities as healthier, happier and more productive individuals. Health checks are carried out by Brewarrina Aboriginal Medical Service, the Triple P Positive Parenting Program has facilities on site, Bourke Health Service facilitates an anger management group and the Murdi Paaki drug and alcohol network conduct education groups. These are just a few of Orana Haven’s local area partnerships.
‘There’s no doubt about the value of the service Orana Haven provides,’
says the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations, Anthony Beven,