Cultural  shawls  improve breast screen  experience for Aboriginal women  in  Horsham

Breast Screen Victoria’s mobile screening van visited Goolum Goolum Aboriginal Cooperative in Horsham this week to give free breast screens to Aboriginal women as part of The Beautiful Shawl Project. Women who took part in this important health check received a free, locally designed cultural screening shawl to wear during their mammogram, and to take home with them.  

The shawls are all about helping women feel more comfortable, respected and culturally safe, with Horsham’s shawl featuring a design by Yorta Yorta artist, Kylie Taylor,  called ‘Titta to Titta’.  

In a statement about her artwork, Kylie Taylor explains the meaning behind the artwork.

“The artwork ‘Titta to Titta’ was inspired by the land surrounding the Wimmera," Kylie said. "The colours represent my favourite places I regularly visit. Pink is for Pink Lake. Blue is for open sky. Yellow is for desert sands. The birds represent freedom.”  

Goolum Goolum Medical Clinic Manager, Wally Coleman was proud to host The Beautiful Shawl project at the local Aboriginal Cooperative.  

“This project will allow our women to undertake breast screening in a culturally safe manner," Wally said. "The Beautiful Shawl program will allow us to deliver women’s health messages whilst celebrating our uniqueness.”  

At BreastScreen Victoria, we're committed to supporting Aboriginal people through their screening experience. We know that including Aboriginal community participation and control around health service delivery is essential to bringing breast screening to more Aboriginal women. We also understand that addressing critical social issues, such as fear, shame, and the lack of cultural awareness among health professionals, is vital.  

This year, we're excited to visit 10 ACCOs and bring breast screening to more Aboriginal women. In August 2021 The Beautiful Shawl Project will be returning to Gunditjmara Aboriginal Cooperative (Warrnambool), Kirrae Health Service (Purnim), Dhauwurd-Wurrung Elderly & Community Health Service (Portland) and Windamara Aboriginal Corporation (Heywood).