• Alexandra McCarthy

Grow Together x Camden Women's Shelter Collaboration



How did “Grow Together” come to be?


Alexandra, Wildflower Holistic Services: One day I was scrolling on Instagram and came across a post from Montana which had stated “We have changed our route to hit the east coast first and rebuild morale in communities affected by fires. If this, is you, please reach out” and so I did! From there we engaged in conversations back and forth with the Murals team in respect to how we could make this all possible, before I came across a grant opportunity from the SWSPHN. SWSPHN invited local community members, groups and organisations to apply for small grants to deliver grassroot activities in bushfire affected communities with the aim to strengthen social connectedness and assist mental health recovery. From there we applied, were successful and worked hard behind the scenes to make the epic large scale (21/x6m) community mural and workshops possible.


One of the themes that was consistent through all of our conversations was “how can we make the most out of this opportunity?” The team at Murals for Change is extremely passionate about being able to support local communities, so came up with the idea to use their large social media presence to release t-shirts that could be purchased with our “Grow Together” theme with all proceeds to go towards a local charity. We came into this project with one goal: to create meaningful art to drive conversation, and encourage tangible impacts on communities – which is what we did!

Why did you choose the Camden Women's Shelter, as the chosen charity to raise funds for?


Montana, Murals for Change: “When we first moved back to Australia after my parents abusive divorce my mum, three brothers and I shared a one room unit out the back of my grandparents house. I was no more than 3 years old before I was faced with the question of how we would pay the rent. I watched my mum go from a high-flying fashion designer to cleaning houses by day and picking fruit by night, providing for all of us on a single wage. It would take until I was an adult to see her fully step into her power again after rebuilding her life from scratch, so when Alex mentioned the opportunity to support a local women’s shelter, designed for both women and their children, it was an immediate yes!”

Tanya can you please tell us a little more about the impact that this $5000 will make?


$5000 will make a huge difference to a woman or a woman with children coming to Blue Wren House - Camden Women’s Shelter. Examples are : $100 pays for the first night’s accommodation, $20 will pay for a fortnight’s communication needs for a woman, $700 supports a woman entirely for a week, $500 pays for courses such as a Barista course for the women to increase their skills for work and $5000 keeps a Shelter vehicle registered, insured and fuelled for a year. As you can see, there are many options for this money to be put to very good use and support of our vulnerable women in our community.

What are other ways that more people can get involved or donate to Camden Women's Shelter?


Tanya, Camden's Women Shelter: There will be many ways people can help - they can help with setting up regular donations as BWH has DGR status, you can donate food, you could volunteer when this may be needed, you can join a sub committee with the Board of BWH and you can attend any of the fundraising events we may hold! If you are interested in volunteering or donating please go to the website or facebook pages to get connected:

https://www.camdenwomensshelter.org.au/ or

https://www.facebook.com/camdenwomensshelter/


Were there any key takeaway moments from the week spent in Oakdale?


Alexandra, Wildflower Holistic Services: The whole week was a takeaway moment! Although there were some really special moments whereby sacred conversations were had between individuals that really highlighted that in these unprecedented times, being able to “Grow Together” is our greatest strength.


Montana, Murals for Change: The Community! When we hosted our community workshop we saw over 50 community members show up to support this great cause. We were so humbled by the response and overall support from the entire Oakdale community. Every single day we were out there we had somebody offering to land a helping hand, a bottle of water, home cooked muffins or even a dance party in the car park to keep the vibes going for this incredible cause. Those memories definitely hold a special place in my heart.

What does a better world mean to you?


Alexandra, Wildflower Holistic Services: A better world is a world where everyone is accepted as themselves, and everyone and everything is equally valued and respected.


Montana, Murals for Change: Murals for Change was born out of a desire to paint a better world. Giving voice to things that matter, while holding space to talk about it in a positive way, matters to us and is the beginning of the creation of a better world. Through creating collaborative murals and facilitating creative experiences, we believe we can make meaningful change in the world, one heart, one artwork at a time. No matter where you live, how old you are, whether you have all the answers now or not, we’re proving that every voice matters and look what you can do with it!


Tanya, Camden Women's Shelter: A better world is a world where everyone is accepted for who they are with no violence, no discrimination, feeling safe (wherever you are) and being able to openly identify who you are without judgement.


We want to give a huge shout out to the SWSPHN and Wollondilly Shire Council for allowing this project to be possible, as well as our resident artist Tameka Waldron who took our vision and allowed it to become reality on a huge wall! Plus to you, all of the community and those involved in purchasing a t-shirt, without any of you this work could not be possible – lets continue to paint a better world!




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