For Lorraine and others at Purple House, the production of their now-famous bush balm was proving increasingly difficult. That was until an Australian company with a big heart stepped in to lend a hand.
Our collaborative project with the Alice Springs based organisation Purple House centres around using the social enterprise model to create employment for Indigenous Australians and preserve local medicine knowledge in one stroke. The bush balm enterprise has recently received a boost with generous donation of funds from the Happy Herb Company for an industrial strength mixer. Since 2008 they have been making bush medicines, sourcing the plants, making batches and delivering it around town. As well as providing revenue to support the ongoing work with dialysis patients, this activity had a number of other advantages:
- The cultural knowledge was being preserved and shared
- Access to the medicine was contributing to wellbeing and health
- A bush medicine enterprise was providing income and diversion for people away from home and their previous employment
- Patients could pass on their knowledge to younger Indigenous people
- We could develop quality products that could marketed and sold to non-Indigenous people
- The products would provide another opportunity to share our story with others.
A victim of its own success however, the enterprise had reached the limits of its production in meeting greater demand. The process of mixing manually was slow and arduous and often led to the product separating over time. The new mixer has changed all that, and as Lorraine points out, “We are still getting used to our new toy!”
She explained to us here that the investment is something as simple as an industrial mixer has the potential to significantly improve the lotions range. This has a big flow-on effect by increasing interest, orders, income and employment opportunities.
Like any business, this social enterprise will benefit greatly from expansion of production making HHC’s injection of capital a very wise investment. Jennifer Westacott, the CEO of the Business Council of Australia supports this when she says,
“This organisation is a model service provider. Its service model is innovative, creative and is a lesson in the management of chronic disease and the preservation of cultural dignity. I have rarely been in an organisation where there was such a sense of happiness and respect. They also deliver clear results which can be easily measured and observed.”
Welcome relief from the daily grind!