Rebuilding strong proud people, by breaking the cycle.
Balunu Foundation Cultural Healing Program

The Balunu Foundation is a Darwin based charity that delivers cultural healing programs to at-risk youth and families in the Northern Territory. The youth healing camps are delivered over a six-day program at our healing retreat located at Talc Head on the Darwin harbor. Youth participants aged 11-17 years of age are eligible to be accepted into the program and all referrals undergo an assessment process. Programs for boys and girls are held separately and rotate month to month. Youth Healing Programs are commencing in April 2015.

The Foundation has been delivering programs to over 650 youth since 2006, achieving very positive results. Although The Foundation’s programs employ a holistic approach to addressing the many challenges faced by the children and families, Balunu’s greatest success has been in the prevention and reduction of youth suicides.

The intergenerational trauma has passed through each generation, manifesting into the many social challenges we confront when supporting families and children. Left unattended, this transitional trauma continues to result in the senseless loss of life and quality of life for all Tribes of this Nation. Such trauma and disharmony were not a part of our old ways and must not be a part of our future. The shameful statistical rates of Indigenous Youth Suicide is a fact this country needs to acknowledge and confront immediately as the Northern Territory has the highest youth suicide rates per capita in the world. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics in 1991, Aboriginal and Torres Strait people in the N.T. represented 5% of the overall suicide rates. By 2010 this increased to 50%. The greatest at-risk category is the 10-24 year olds, which represented 10% of the Indigenous suicide population in 1991. By 2010 this figure had increased to 80%. The most recent statistics released by the Australian Federal Government’s 2014 Productivity Report has indicated the suicide death rate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians in 2008–2012 was almost twice the rate for non-Indigenous Australians. The hospitalisation rate for intentional self-harm for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians increased by almost 50 per cent from 2004-05 to 2012-13, while the rate for other Australians remained relatively stable.

The Balunu Foundation’s own statistics identify that 80-85% of the 650 plus youth in contact with The Foundation have either attempted or had suicidal ideology at the time we met them. This is aligned to the alarming rates recorded by the Australian Bureau of Statistics regarding Indigenous Youth Suicide in this country. Despite a number of attempts, the Balunu Program is proud of the fact that no youth attendee has committed suicide to date, however the risk remains high. The pain and trauma remains unaddressed for far too many, and there is much to be done. These problems need to be addressed in a proper manner to achieve positive outcomes. We can no longer accept failure.

Considering the program is operating with minimal resources, it continues to achieve very positive outcomes, assist many youth and families, and save the lives of the most vulnerable in our society.

Other positive outcomes include educational reengagement, family support, substance abuse reduction, increased healthy choices, reduced crime recidivism, life skills, life tools and most importantly, self-belief and self worth.

Balunu provides a solution and we welcome all to be a part of the Balunu journey. With your help we can heal our children and end the preventable inter-generational trauma we currently face.

Service Delivery Strategies
  • Provide positive cultural experiences for participating youth
  • Provide positive outdoor activities for participating youth
  • Identify and address individual issues
  • Build relationships between youths and with adults
  • Develop youths’ sense of responsibility

Addressing the challenges through community based solutions that are both Culturally appropriate and outcome focused provides for a more affective success rate. This is achieved by building the individual‘s self belief and confidence through strengthening identity, building self-dignity and pride. The program aims to provide the necessary tools required for youth to address their personal trauma and deal with the external challenges they face in their daily lives, enabling them to maintain their uniqueness whilst walking in the new world as we know it.

Balunu delivers a culturally appropriate service with a focus on realistic solutions to very complex issues. In order to maximize positive results, control of the resources to implement solutions must be provided to the grass roots programs achieving positive outcomes.

Referral Process
All referrals can be made by contacting the Balunu office on (08) 89854400 or email us at

Program Overview
  • Camps are delivered over six days from Monday – Saturday
  • Boys and Girls camps are held separately
  • Programs are held every month from April - September
  • Activities include: Cultural Activities, Therapeutic Activities, Life Skills, Self-esteem Building, Personal Development and Education.
  • By strengthening the Identity of youth we provide them with a safe and positive environment to navigate through the challenges of life with confidence and understanding.
The aims of the camp program are:
  • Increase the self esteem, confidence, empowerment and self respect of young people;
  • Re-engagement with education and youth services targeting improved life pathways;
  • Building the emotional resilience, and cultural spirituality and wellbeing of indigenous young people;
  • Through a holistic approach, reconnecting young people to their identity, dealing with underlying issues, and equipping young people with tools, skills and support to make strong choices

The Balunu healing program endeavours to:

  • Promote the development of positive relationships and encourage young people to make healthy positive choices
  • Focus on young people's strengths and positive behavior
  • Deliver activities that reconnect young people with their culture, promote healthy lifestyles and facilitate skill/knowledge development; and teach young people new ways to express their needs and cope with their emotions and life experiences.
  • Break the negative cycle of disadvantaged Indigenous youth in order to build a strong and positive future for the youth and families.

Camp Location The camps are held at Talc Head which is located across the Darwin harbor. The camp site is a 10-20 minute boat ride away. Below is a satellite image of the location and its proximity to Darwin City.

Balunu receives referrals from all sectors of the community, government and non-government services, schools, community members, families, individuals and the youth.