Bonita Byrne is a proud Wiradjuri woman from Narrandera, NSW. She is currently working as project coordinator on the Maldahnalanga project at the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre. The Maldahnalanga project aims to reduce alcohol related harms amongst Aboriginal people in regional communities, which include Griffith, Lake Cargelligo and Narrandera. Bonita’s role is to implement project activities identified by the community as appropriate. Some of the activities she has implemented to date include cultural workshops for the young people, indoor soccer competition and a Talent quest. The aim of the activities is to provide Aboriginal community with positive activities and coping strategies to avoid situation that are high risk for alcohol harms.
This weekend I will run a movie night as well as indoor soccer night for my community as part of the Maldahnalanga project.
I wish I’d never left Narrandera for so long – there is so much to do in my community.
I’d originally planned to work as a community nurse and diabetes educator.
The qualities I most value in my colleagues are reliability and dependability.
I’ll never forget the days I gave birth to my son and daughter.
If I had more time, I’d write a book about my life and the obstacles and challenges I have faced as an Aboriginal person.
I’m most scared of mice.
For my next holiday I’m going to Tasmania then Japan.
I can’t get enough sleep.
I’m really terrible at dieting.
Career wise, I’m most proud of the studies I have completed and the positions I have held making a difference to the lives of Aboriginal people.
My big hope for the drug and alcohol sector is to see the community take more responsibility for the drug and alcohol problem. Cohesiveness and a community spirit would result in a more positive outcome for the whole of the community.
The sector’s biggest challenge going forward is delivering education about the problem and getting the community to take greater responsibility as a whole.