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Claudette Hastie turns life around after participating in Ngoonbi Community Services Indigenous Corporation's support program

Dechlan Brennan -

First Nations woman Claudette Hastie has seen a remarkable transformation in her trauma-filled life, thanks in part to the help of the Ngoonbi Community Services Indigenous Corporation (Ngoonbi).

Based in Djabugay Country, in the rainforest surrounded town of Kuranda, Ngoonbi's mission statement notes they endeavour to "eliminate social disadvantage amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and to increase their participation within the community".

Claudette, who comes from Yalanji and Jirrbal Country on her father's side and the Djabugay and Mulridji clan group on her mothers, is a descendant of the Mona Mona Aboriginal mission and grew up on Djabugay Country.

She moved to the nearby towns of Mareeba and Cairns after experiencing grief and loss, before turning to alcohol.

The Northern Queensland Primary Health Network (NQPHN) said Claudette noted she "slept rough, drank heavily, and used marijuana regularly".

However, when she moved back to Djabugay Country, Claudette was able to engage in the services of Ngoonbi to help her overcome some of the alcohol and drug challenges she faced, becoming a Ngoonbi Alcohol and Other Drugs (NAOD) client.

"I look ahead with a positive outlook on life now and don't worry about drinking alcohol or using marijuana," she said.

"I am taking care of my appearance and am committed to my job."

As part of her healing process, Claudette has been able to enjoy camping, cooking, gardening, arts and crafts, and fishing on Country.

"Claudette became involved in the TRACQS Community Development Program (CDP) program where she was offered opportunities to gain accredited certificates in business, computer skills development, commercial cleaning, and horticulture," Ngoonbi Community Programs Coordinator, Donna O'Chin said.

TRACQS is a locally-led CDP provider which helps deliver pre and post-employment and training services across the Western Tablelands of Far North Queensland.

"These skills helped her gain the confidence to first seek employment where she currently works 30 hours a week and is now looking for additional hours," Ms O'Chin said.

NQPHN said Claudette has now been able to reduce her drinking, and envisions one day owning a domestic cleaning business or operating a cafe.

Claudette has attended a short business course, learning how to create and plan a business, and successfully obtained an ABN," Ms O'Chin said.

"Her current goal is to obtain her provisional driver's licence to enable her to drive her own vehicle and start her business."

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