The aim and purpose of the Wayne Weaver Foundation are to support bereaved First Nations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) prisoners, their families and communities. The Foundation supports the cost associated with funerals, coffins, and gravestones. It also provides post-release community support for prisoners and their families.

Unresolved grief is a killer. The Wayne Weaver Foundation is focussed on protecting and conserving the social and cultural bonds and traditions of First Nations peoples, their families and communities by providing the support, resources and follow up necessary to attend funerals held in the community, outside correctional facilities.

Prisoner Art Donated to the Foundation

First Nations people are massively overrepresented within the criminal justice system of Australia. They represent only three percent of the total population, yet more than 28 percent of Australia’s prison population is First Nations. The Wayne Weaver Foundation is focussed on protecting and conserving the social and cultural bonds and traditions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their families by, when possible, providing the support and access to resources necessary to attend funerals held outside correctional facilities.

The attitudinal and mindset oriented wellbeing of prisoners directly affects the quality of the environment around them, for better or worse, including staff. We know that the positive benefits of treating prisoners with humanity pass on to the staff, and to the families of all concerned.

Prisoner Art donated to the Foundation

Funeral ceremonies and burial practices vary throughout Australia. Burials in parts of central and southern Australia are quite different from burials in Northern Australia. The various ceremonies celebrating the life and passing of a person, often involve a series of significant Cultural practices and protocols to ensure the deceased spirit leaves the area and returns to the place of their birth.

As It is critically important for First Nations people to attend these ceremonies, The Wayne Weaver Foundation aims to bring this issue to the fore front of public knowledge so that it is recognised just how damaging non-attendance can be to the health and wellbeing of not only the individual but the wider community as well.

Unemployment at the predominantly First Nations community of Cherbourg in Southern Queensland is at 35.5 percent. This community will hold three or four funerals a week, meaning prisoners from some 13 facilities will have to deal with the impact of a family or community member passing away three or four, sometimes 5 times a week. The numbers are staggering.

An inability to attend funerals because of cost or incarceration, or both, are major contributing factors to cultural imbalance and unresolved grief which can lead to prisoners reoffending on their release.

In times of grief, people need support. Appropriate support to First Nations people can save lives by making it financially possible for them to fulfill their cultural duties to themselves and their close and extended family.

As well as providing appropriate funeral costs and funeral travel for prisoners, the Wayne Weaver Foundation will help with prisoners’ re-integration into the community.

A major part of the foundation’s work is to advance the education and awareness of the Australian public to the importance of the wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in prisons in Australia and their connection to their families.

The Wayne Weaver Foundation will raise funds in three ways. Firstly, from the sales of artworks donated by prisoners. Secondly, from the sales of donated artworks from an established network of professional artists from around the world. Thirdly, from fully tax-deductible charitable donations from the public, corporate and aligned entities. All works auctioned will be on exhibition in various locations open to the public as regular events.

The Wayne Weaver Foundation’s future projects will include the development of a purpose built transition and reintegration centre for the recently incarcerated. Watch this space.

Thank you.

Prisoner Art donated to the Foundation

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