Building a small business to support the well-being of Indigenous communities.
Today we want to introduce you to Rayleen Councillor from Barrowa Consultancy in Western Australia. After many years working in social and emotional wellbeing, and the mental health space, Rayleen decided to bring her life experience and cultural knowledge together to contribute to the healing of others.
“I’m a Karrajarri, Naaguja Woman with connections to the Wajarri, Binjareb and the Wongatha peoples and have individually experienced physical, emotional and spiritual hardships on my respective journey. Using these life experiences, coupled with my formal education, I have developed a strong commitment that contributes to the healing of others.”
Indigenous Business Australia in Broome introduced Rayleen to Many Rivers over two years ago and here’s her story.
My business is called Barrowa Consultancy. It is named after my grandfather who was a special man in this area. I have been operating officially now since before Corona-virus, around January. My work revolves around Indigenous trauma and recovery, family dispute and resolution (mediation), and social and emotional wellbeing via group work.
I was working with Anglicare in Broome before, doing both meditation and counselling. I was counselling individuals and couples, as well as doing mediation with separated parents.
The business idea
I feel like I have a lot to offer in terms of my skill set and it is also about giving back to my Yamiji mob and others, such as my elders and ancestors that had paved the pathway so that we as the first nation people of Australia have access to better health, education and lives in general today, though this is an ongoing matter that still needs to be sorted.
Right now, it is just me, and will probably be just me for a while. I do work in partnership every now and then, with my sister, who is also trained in Aboriginal Mental Health First Aid.
Working with Many Rivers
Mike [Microenterprise Development Manager] is such a pleasure to work with, he is so respectful and knows his stuff. I already had a business plan from a few years ago. It was a sad story – a friend I was going to go into business with had passed on… So, I let it sit for a few years. Then I decided that it was time and so I sought Mike’s support and we were able to go through it and work with it. It’s been a large learning and things are moving along well.
I think with Mike, because he knows so much, he is very enthusiastic, and his energy rubs off on me. Sometimes when I feel like I can’t do it and it all feels like a lot, I know I can call Mike and he will tell me how to do it and refer me to whoever can help me.
I realise that I do not need to know everything, and I can learn things on the way, but Mike is my go-to person when I need.
Did Many Rivers assist you with finding financial support?
Yes, it was the financial support for my training as an Aboriginal Mental Health First Aid practitioner. From that, I now have four different contracts that I have been working with. One is in Aboriginal Mental Health First Aid, Aboriginal Meditation Services and around Indigenous Trauma and Recovery.
I think getting out there and just empowering others to understand and to help them to make meaning or make sense of various scenarios through the provision of group work and providing the required tools. Plus working from a strength and trauma informed base.
The biggest challenge is the waiting in the sense of keeping myself contained, because I realised I need to be patient – so putting up my boundaries and not taking on too much. Putting myself out there has also been a challenge because I am a private person. I am still building my website and am working towards getting this sorted soon.
I think that the biggest change now is balancing family life with business life. My daughter has left to go to uni and I am living with my middle daughter and two of my grandchildren, two very energetic little boys, an eight-year-old and a six-year-old. So, ensuring with their mum’s help that they are settled, and finding myself the time to finish what I need to finish, to take the time to breathe and think about what I need to be doing.
Basically, hoping that the business and the work that I do makes a difference.
Thank you Rayleen for sharing your story and all the wonderful support you give to so many people in your community.
Do you have a passion or small business idea? Do you have a business you would like to expand or would like some business coaching support?
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