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Take a look inside the Remote Laundries project

Take a look inside the Remote Laundries project

With our collaboration with the Aboriginal Investment Group (AIG) and the Remote Laundry project coming up at Barunga Festival, we take you behind the scenes of this successful partnership.  

Our marketing and communications team Sarah Roberts and Binh Van Phan paid a visit to the Remote Laundry at Casuarina in Darwin, which is set up for the local community to use.

Brittany Ciupka from Aboriginal Investment Group

One of the purposes of the Remote Laundry project is to reduce Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD), which is a chronic illness that disproportionately affects Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, particularly those living in remote and rural NT. People living with RHD have a reduced quality of life and a higher likelihood of premature death because normal blood flow is interrupted due to damage to the valves in their heart.

Sadly, RHD is entirely preventable.

Environmental factors such as overcrowded housing and limited access to working washing machines often lead to Strep A throat infections and skin conditions among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, which are precursors to acute rheumatic fever and subsequently RHD.

That is why in 2019, we funded the AIG’s pilot Remote Laundry in the small community of Barunga 80km south of Katherine, offering free washing and drying to anyone who needs it.

One of the aims of the laundry in Barunga was to eradicate the spread of scabies, a severe itch and skin condition caused by tiny burrowing mites living in blankets, bedding, and clothing. If left untreated, scabies has a high likelihood of leading to RHD. Over 80 per cent of children in remote Aboriginal communities are diagnosed with sores before their first birthday.

While only just a few years into this pilot project, we are already seeing very positive benefits.

The community of Barunga has seen improved quality of life and health outcomes through the reduction of chronic diseases. For example, the reported number of scabies cases has dropped by over 60 per cent.

There have also been economic benefits for the town. Over $3.9 million in health savings were made through the prevention of scabies-related chronic diseases over 5 years. The Barunga laundry itself also employs 6 locals contributing to the town’s economy.

With so much success, AIG have expanded Remote Laundries to other communities in Angurugu, Umbakumba, Milyakburra and plans on opening more throughout the NT.

Learn more about the Remote Laundries project

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