Arnhem Land, Australia.

A fresh approach to Indigenous health

Hope for Health aims to transform the way in which Indigenous Australians understand and engage with health.

A Yolngu-led initiative based on Elcho Island in Arnhem Land, Hope for Health was established by husband and wife team Kama and Tim Trudgen along with local community member Dianne Biritjalawuy. It focuses on using tools of nutrition and lifestyle change in accordance with traditional frameworks to produce meaningful improvements in community and individual health. Kama and Tim have been living among the Yolngu people since 2009, learning language and culture, focusing on understanding traditional knowledge and processes and being available to support locally initiated projects.


A core group of 12 Yolngu women are the pioneers of the movement to change the experience of health in their community. In April 2015 these women were taken to a health retreat so they could experience a healthy way of living. The experience has assisted them to realise that health and lifestyle factors have a tangible impact on health and wellbeing and one that could empower and strengthen their community.

“This has never just been about community education. It's about giving people an experience so that they have a choice.” Kama Trudgen - Hope for Health

These same 12 women are now on a quest to achieve Vibrant Health for Yolngu people. Hope for Health is partnering with the group to support and help resource their vision.For the individual women the project aims to support their personal, unique journey to health, helping to build their capacity to be powerful agents of change within their families and communities.The end goal of the project is the establishment of a health retreat in Arnhem Land but it’s a goal that can only be met through many small steps.

Currently Hope for Health is focused on developing a health education curriculum that is led by the Yolngu and therefore culturally appropriate to the local worldview and in language.

What we love about this project:

  • The program’s ‘Discovery Education’ promotes experiential understanding. This approach assists the community to tap into and remember traditional knowledge rather than operating in a culturally imperialistic manner
  • It puts health in the hands of the people!
  • The Yolngu are being trained to be their own health educators and ambassadors.
  • It’s hands-on and includes skill development through cooking classes and workshops.
  • Traditional Foods are valued. Hope for Health hopes to find ways to make traditional foods available through the local store