It will soon be the first year of the Remote Laundry pilot project in Barunga.
The project came from a Bagala Aboriginal Corporation board meeting in 2018 to improve health and provide jobs in community through washing.
Simple in design, robust and easy to operate, the laundry sits proudly next to the Bagala Community Store in Barunga.
For the past year it has been washing and drying the clothes of anyone who turns up.
Set inside a shipping container, the laundry has four industrial sized washers and dryers and a huge hydraulic arm which opens and closes the laundry.
The project employs five locals part time and has injected $50,000 in wages into the community of Barunga in the last 12 months.
It's been harder to measure the impact of the laundry on health, specifically nasty diseases like rheumatic heart disease, trachoma and skin sores.
The laundry team has teamed up with the local health clinic, the school, aged care and Northern Territory Primary Health Network.
It was decided in September 2019 that all washing and drying would be free (it was $4 per cycle before that).
It was also decided around that time, that on Wednesdays a bus would ferry washers around Barunga and neighbouring community Beswick to and from the laundry.
These two approaches combined have improved usage of the laundry by 337 per cent.
Teaching the community about how the laundry works and building trust and understanding has been an important lesson, and the Barunga School has been a very important player in that.
Twice there have been washing sessions where the kids went on excursion to the laundry and learned about how to wash and dry their own clothes.
The program has been so successful there is now a high school student who runs the laundry every Saturday as her job.
"This is a pilot project, but we hope for not for much longer," the Aboriginal Investment Group said.
"The idea back at the start was to work with seven Top End communities to set up a laundry in their community, and we are keen to get cracking on that promise. This is a project run through a charity and relies heavily on corporate sponsorship and individual donations to continue.
"The next step is to ramp this up and give people the opportunity to come on board and be a part of creating jobs and improving health in communities through their donations."
There are donation tap points in Darwin (Sweetbrew & Co, Groove Café and Ray's Café and Patisserie) and throughout the NT. Each tap point is set up to give $2 per tap to the Remote Laundries project.
If corporates are interested in being a part of this exciting project, please contact email@example.com
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