Posted on 05 October, 2017

Smoke Free success stories in Ramingining

Smoke Free success stories in Ramingining

Phase One of the Top End Smoke-Free Spaces project has uncovered many success stories.

ARDS’ Top End Smoke-Free Spaces team completed our final house visits in the Ramingining phase of the project in September.

In the eight months since our first visits in February, ARDS facilitators and local workers visited all but one house in the community. Overall, we had 192 dialogues with residents, the majority with heads of households (ŋurruŋu buṉbu-djägamirr mala).

In these interactions, we provided information about the ‘deep story’ of smoking, an understanding of passive smoking from a Yolŋu perspective, as well as an invitation to try and respect non-smokers by smoking away from the house: to barrku buny’tjurr (‘smoke away, at a distance’).

As a direct result of these dialogues, 32 householders with no smoking rule previously will now attempt to create a ‘barrku buny’tjurr’ rule. Another 10 houses with an existing weak rule, will try to strengthen their rule.

That equates to almost half of all households in Ramingining trying to create smoke-free spaces.

Importantly, we discovered that many Yolŋu were already implementing rules in their home to reduce harms to their families from passive smoking. Thirty-three houses had a ‘no smoking inside’ rule when we arrived – some of these rules are very strong, and others can be further strengthened .

In addition, lots of people have quit smoking, and many others want to quit. This suggests that with further support and education, there is good potential to reduce smoking rates in Ramingining.

In September, ARDS thanked Ramingining with a community BBQ. We’d like to express our gratitude again here, to the many residents who invited us into their homes and shared amazing stories about smoking in Yolŋu rom and history (as well as in their own houses).

We’d especially like to thank our local co-workers in Ramingining: Sylvia Manytjurrpuy, David Warraya, Tommy Munyurryun, and Judy Gapugurawuy. And we thank ARDS director Matthew Dhulumburrk for supporting and providing guidance for this project in Ramingining.

The project has now moved to Gapuwiyak and Minyjilang. We look forward to bringing the learnings and methodology developed in Ramingining to these phases of the project.

Photo: Roy Maparrku and Peter Gekirri with a ‘Barrku Buny’tjurr’ sign they installed outside the entrance to the Ramingining store.

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