We asked Banok a few questions about her RMIT experience, how Ngarara Willim supported her through her studies and what’s next in her career.

Banok Rind
Banok Rind

What was your journey to RMIT like?

I’m a very proud Yamatji Badimaya woman from WA and did most of my schooling in Perth before moving to Melbourne eight years ago. I never thought I would finish year 10, 11 and 12 let alone get to university. Something that I had always been passionate about growing up was seeing my family, my elders, my community always sick and too shame to go to hospital.
I used to think to myself, I will do something for my people’s health and wellbeing, so the next generation doesn’t have to see preventable illnesses turn into chronic ones. I didn’t think I’d do Nursing, but the path lead me here and nursing opened up a lot of pathways and doors for me that I didn’t think I would ever get to or amount to.

What lead you to study at RMIT?

I wasn’t sure if I would study at RMIT, but I had visited an Open Day hosted by the University and visited the old Ngarara Willim Centre. I met all the amazing blackfellas there who I maintained connections with, I shared my interest in studying in health and changing the narrative for our people’s health and wellbeing. I explored other universities and found that RMIT was where I wanted to be. A huge part of that was because of Ngarara Willim mob who supported me with enrolment, application and transitioning into university.

What did you enjoy most about engaging with Ngarara Willim during your studies?

I was based in Bundoora so I couldn’t visit the city Ngarara Willim centre everyday but I made sure I visited once a week or a few times a fortnight because it felt like a family. As Aboriginal people, we are people of community and take care of one another. I loved our ability to look out for one another. Even when I finished studying at RMIT, I made sure I was in contact and visiting the mob at Ngarara because they played a huge role into my journey and career as an Aboriginal nurse.

"My ongoing passion is to change the health system that supports holistic healing and the health and wellbeing of our people, as well as embedding cultural safety that is practised by all health professionals working with our mob."

What are you up to now in work and life?

Currently I am working as the Deputy Executive Officer at the Koorie Youth Council. I am also studying a Masters in Public Health at Melbourne University.

Amongst those two, I was actively involved in teaching Indigenous Health across various universities such as RMIT, ACU and the University of Melbourne. My ongoing passion is to change the health system, and support holistic healing and the health and wellbeing of our people, as well as embedding cultural safety in all health professionals working with our mob.

What would your message be to our mob who may be considering studying at RMIT?

If you are considering studying at RMIT, know that you have an amazing mob that will always be part of your journey and supporting you to be the best you can be and achieve whatever you would like to achieve. For myself, my university experience was challenging due to family, being away from home and balancing my life, but with the support of Ngarara Willim and Aunty Kerrie Doyle, they really made me be the best I can be.

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