Why we’re doing this

In Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community there is a deep burden of grief and Sorry Business. And it takes a huge emotional and financial toll on our mob.

We have unacceptably higher rates of infant mortality, unacceptably higher rates of youth suicide and our overall life expectancy is devastatingly more than 20 years less than other Australians*.

We go to more funerals, more often.

In the words of Pastor Ray Minnecon, Community Chaplain in the Redfern and Glebe,

From what I can see, by the time our young people are leaving school they have attended up to 100 funerals. Our community is living in a constant cycle of grief. The emotional and financial drain on community goes hand-in-hand.

Historically, the impact of colonisation and the Stolen Generations plays an important part in the current physical, mental and spiritual health and wellbeing of Indigenous Australians — that in turn impacts mortality rates. Medical science now acknowledges the health impact of trans-generational grief. We biologically experience the pain of past generations. Suffering is in our genes.

For Aboriginal people, attending the funeral of a family member is culturally appropriate — something we must do — as well as a starting point for grieving, healing and moving on.

Yet many Indigenous Australians are getting into crippling financial debt, just dealing with Sorry Business, paying for the funerals of family and community members (who had no provision to do so) and often travelling lengthy and expensive journeys to home Country to say goodbye.

Individuals and our community as whole need help with the crippling, and often, hidden burden of Sorry Business related debt.

It starts with TLC, tender loving care, respect and acknowledgement that the need to travel is real and the financial cost often prohibitive.

The focus of the Lillian Crombie Foundation is to support travel needs for Sorry Business and prevent Sorry Business related debt.

The Foundation will help support the travel and communication costs associated with Sorry Business, for those in financial crisis or need. Support will be provided in kind, not cash. We will assist with fares, vouchers and travel essentials.

The Foundation also aims to provide referrals to grief and financial counseling services.

We believe if we respect and support this vital spiritual part of our culture that this will nurture deeper healing and reconciliation, reduce the burden of Sorry Business related debt and help build pathways to better health and resilience in our community.

Join us — in supporting the journey.

*Australian Bureau of Statistics 2014