The Beautiful Shawl Project visits Halls Gap

Staff member Keisha Bell and Designated Radiographer Kyla Kyaw.

BreastScreen Victoria's mobile screening service set up camp at Budja Budja Aboriginal Cooperative, Halls Gap, this week to screen and support Aboriginal women as part of The Beautiful Shawl Project.

During the van's first visit to Budja Budja, local Aboriginal women took part in the important health check, taking home with them a special, cultural screening shawl designed by local Gunditjmara and Wotjobaluk artist Tanisha Lovett. She calls her artwork Strong Connections.

"Women sit side by side with no shame of getting their breast screens completed," Tanisha said, explaining the meaning behind the artwork. "In the middle of the artwork is the symbol of a meeting place. On each side of the artwork are different mobs and their connections."

In partnership with the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO), we're excited to be visiting a total of 10 Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations across the state this year to bring breast screening to more Aboriginal women.

"We are proud that this strength-based culturally safe initiative has been successful in improving the screening experience for Aboriginal women in the region," said VACCHO Manager of Public Health and Research Susan Forrester. "Key to its success is the collaborative approach, including partnering with Budja Budja, designing a shawl featuring the work of local artists, on country, supporting Aboriginal women to screen together as a group and increasing the cultural competence of BreastScreen Victoria staff."

"Together, we will continue to build on successes and partner with Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations across the state in 2021 and beyond, to ensure a safe and supportive screening experience for women," Susan said.

Since 2018, the Beautiful Shawl Project has reached over 350 Aboriginal women who screened with a cultural screening shawl from their community.