Child and Family services

The Balanu Foundation (NT)

What is it?

The Balunu Foundation is an Indigenous owned and operated not for profit organisation based in Darwin. Balanu's aim is to break the negative cycle that fosters Indigenous disadvantage by focusing on Indigenous young people. The Foundation acts to:

  • Relieve distress, suffering and mental illness in Indigenous people through holistic mental and spiritual healing
  • Create positive cycles of cultural empowerment for Indigenous youth, promoting healing, harmony and spiritual wellbeing
  • Unite and empower Indigenous people by creating a positive future for Indigenous youth and culture
  • Empower and strengthen the spiritual wellbeing of Indigenous youth, giving them choices and the opportunity to create a positive future through nurturing, guiding, mutual respect and love.

A 9 day indigenous youth cultural healing camp is provided using Balunu's ten step methodology (mapping out barriers, concerns, needs, desires, aspirations and dreams, and supporting young people to deal with the issues that hold them from reaching their full potential).

Background to development

Balunu was developed in 2004 by David Cole, who was recognised as NAIDOC Person of the Year in 2009 and an NT finalist in Australian of the Year 2011.The name Balunu comes from the Luritja language of Central Australia, and means ‘creation'. This refers to the creation of strong youth, strong leaders, strong culture and strong community for the future by breaking negative cycles and creating positive ones.

Links to further information:

David Cole



Big hART Inc - Ngapartji Ngapartji Project (Central Australia)

What is it?

Big hART's Ngapartji Ngapartji Project is a national model of arts-based community development that has been adapted to the Pitjantjatjara cultural context. Based in Alice Springs, the program engages young people and their families from across the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands in SA and NT. The program is bilingual and aims to increase pride, intergenerational communication, understanding and language sustainability, develop life-skills and prevent crime. The project provides a space for young people to create their own work, including writing music, making theatre and creating artwork, thereby allowing them to express their own thoughts on matters relating to social and emotional wellbeing or other matters of concern to young people and their families.                    

Background to Development

The project ran between 2005 and 2009 and comprised an experiential language show and a main stage theatre production, among other arts-based activities. Both performance components travelled to major Australian cities and arts festivals between 2005-2008, and featured Elders and young people from the Pitjantjatjara-speaking community who also participated in the grass-roots community development program. 

Links to further information

Ngapartji Ngapartji's online language and culture site, ‘ninti' remains as a legacy of this innovative project. (

Big hART (