Tiga Bayles interviews David Cole who is the founder and director of the Balunu Foundation in the Northern Territory. David Cole is joined by one of his uncles, Bobby Cole, who has been in the Indigenous Leadership Program. The name Balunu comes from the Luritja language of central Australia . The word Balunu means creation and this is what we are about: the creation of strong youth, strong culture, strong leaders, for a strong future by breaking negative cycles and creating positive ones. Our youth can no longer
wait. The time has come to nurture, to love and to offer spiritual healing to guide them on their journey toward harmony and balance. Creating a future free of pain and suffering while creating strong families for the
generations to come. We have a holistic approach, reconnecting the youth to their true identity, dealing with the underlying issues they face and equipping them with the necessary tools to make strong choices. Through support and encouragement we work on the youth's self-esteem, confidence and emotional and spiritual wellbeing to enable them to become strong balanced individuals who will grow to become good fathers, good mothers and create strong families which will provide an environment to nurture, guide, protect and love the children
within these families.

Balunu's vision is a three hundred year vision, as it has taken us over two hundred years to be in the suffering we face today in Indigenous society and
it will take a lot longer to get back out of it. But there are short term goals towards reaching this long term vision. The short term being the healing of an individual and long term being the strengthening of many generations which will flow under this individual.

We do this through a remote isolated Cultural Healing Camp which is where we take the youth and work on the many different aspects of their suffering. Elders play a vital role in the camp, for it is their knowledge we rely on in order to find our true identity. Respect is the motto in which the camp is founded and a counselor also attends to assist with the underlying issues within the youth. The youth work through a ten step methodology, mapping out their barriers, concerns, needs, desires and aspirations and dreams. We support them and help to deal with the issues which hold them back from reaching their dreams.

Balunu will be establishing what we call the place of maintenance, where we do the constant follow up work, reinforcing and continual strengthening. It is also a place where we will be reaching out to the younger youth. The place of maintenance will have a range of activities which will be open to Indigenous and non Indigenous youth. We want to provide a place of gathering, where bridges of understanding will be built, friendships are formed and the sharing of information and knowledge can take place. Ultimately, suffering
does not discriminate and although Balunu is aimed at breaking the cycles of suffering in Indigenous society, we intend to have non Indigenous youth also attend our program in the future.

This journey is one of healing. United we must walk together to end the suffering and create a better future for all. The generational pain and suffering which holds us back from moving forward as balanced and proud people is also the one barrier which is denying us the opportunity to create a future free of suffering. We cannot undo the past, but we all own the now and I ask you to join us on this journey. Together we can make a difference for the future which will not only strengthen Aboriginal society but will bring us together as Australians alike and create a more harmonious and
united country which then can truly call themselves a Nation.

The past has brought us to where we are today, what we do today will determine our tomorrow.

David Cole
Founder and Director Balunu Foundation

If you want to get involved and contribute in any way or if you require more information, please contact us http://www.balunu.org.au/

We are happy to discuss our concept with you in more detail!

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