Beautiful shawls for DWECH and Winda-Mara

BreastScreen Victoria’s mobile screening van recently returned to Dhauwurd-Wurrung Elderly and Community Health Service (DWECH)in Portland and Winda-Mara Aboriginal Corporation in Heywood. This was the first two locations in a series of upcoming visits to Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations (ACCOs) across South West Victoria. 

The van visited both DWECH and Winda-Mara in 2019 and was back to give free breast screens to women aged 50-74 as part of the Beautiful Shawl Project. Women who screened received a free, locally-designed cultural screening shawl to wear during their screen, and take home with them. The shawls aim to make sure women feel more comfortable, respected and culturally safe.  

As part of this visit to South West Victoria, the van will now head to Gunditjmara Aboriginal Cooperative in Warrnambool from 6 -10 September. After that, it will stop by Kirrae Health Service in Purnim from 13-14 September, before heading to Geelong to visit Wathaurong Aboriginal Cooperative from 15-17 September.  

The Beautiful Shawl Project is an award-winning initiative, run jointly by BreastScreen Victoria and the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO).  

Yigar, Gunditjmara artist Jenna Bamblett designed the shawl for Winda-Mara (Heywood).

Susan Forrester, VACCHO Manager of Public Health and Research said, “We are proud that this strength-based culturally safe initiative has been successful in improving the screening experience for Aboriginal women in the region.”   

Since October 2018 the project has visited 16 communities and screened over 375 Aboriginal women.