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The Mai Wiru Sugar Challenge Foundation is working with the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands communities in an indigenous-led initiative to improve their health.  By combining modern and local traditional knowledge of food preparation we are reducing sugar intake by encouraging delicious healthy alternatives. 

We are the nutritional arm of the already existing Mai Wiru Regional Stores Council.

With your help, we aim to open locally-run ‘good living cafes’ in five of the APY Land townships, in which we will continue our nutrition training whilst providing healthy meals.  Watch the video below to learn more:

What we do

The Mai Wiru Sugar Challenge Foundation was founded to raise the funds to allow the mission started by Mai Wiru to continue.  The Foundation is working with the community to remove as much sugar from the stores as is possible and it is, most importantly, collaborating with the people of the APY Lands to take control of their own health.

The Foundation will measure what works and what doesn’t and learn from the experience with the aim of taking its campaign to other communities that may also be consuming too much sugar (both non-indigenous and indigenous).

In our trial store in Pipalyatjara, the work of the nutritionists has been embraced – locals are very happy with the delicious, healthy food that is being cooked for them fresh and also as ‘pre packaged meals’ and are particularly positive about their children eating better.   This has led them to be very enthusiastic about the idea of a kitted-out café that sells healthy meals.  We have full support of making this happen.

The Anangu store workers are enjoying their roles in helping the community get healthier.

how it all began

Our Foundation is the nutrition arm of the Mai Wiru Regional Stores Council, which is a health initiative run by local aboriginal people.  The Mai Wiru group lost their Government funding in 2010 and as a result their nutritionist was unable to continue. They were achieving terrific results in lowering sugar consumption in the communities and we wish to empower them to continue their great work by reinstating nutrition training and education as a priority.

Launch Mai Wiru

Our Goal

To reduce sugar consumption on the APY Lands from the current 30% of daily energy intake to 5%

as recommended by the World Health Organisation

The mission of the Mai Wiru Sugar Challenge Foundation is to improve the health of Aboriginal people by focusing on the 5 stores of the APY Lands.  We then hope to roll out the program to other Aboriginal communities across Australia.

How we are achieving this goal

  • Training and employing Aboriginal ‘nutrition advisors’ in the stores to educate and assist community members with shopping choices.
  • Encouraging more consumption of non-processed fresh foods and water through education, signage and use of our foundation’s ‘sugar teaspoon labeling system’ on store shelves for greater clarity around added sugar in products.
  • Employing a full time nutritionist who can continue the training with the local people
  • Reducing the sugary drinks that are available in the store by collaborating with store managers and owners on their ordering process by encouraging them to to replace high sugar products with low sugar ones.
  • Building a ‘Good Living Cafe’ in each store that teaches the community how to prepare healthy food while also providing a healthy food menu.
  • Provide cooking lessons that can then be taken back to the kitchens in the homes of the community.
  • Empowering the local people and to teach the next generation.
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Progress to date

After 18 months of negotiating with the local elders and health and women’s councils, we began our program in the pilot store of Pipalyatjara.  We have been received with open arms and great support.

EDUCATION & ADVICE

Our pilot store has already trained local ‘nutrition advisors’ to work in the store.  This involves helping others with food choices, maintaining signs and labels plus providing morning smoothies and healthy take away choices.

LABELING SYSTEM

The sugar ‘teaspoon labeling system’ is in place along with posters on healthy choices.

SCHOOL SUPPORT

The local school has received a ‘That Sugar Film School Action Kit’ and the children are enthusiastically learning about the importance of eating real foods and less sugar for the benefit of their mind and bodies.

Get Involved

We are looking for your help to achieve our goals of lower sugar consumption on the APY lands and beyond. Any contribution you make over $2 is tax deductible. Every dollar counts so even if its $2, we are very grateful. If you wish to donate more than $500 please email katie@maiwirufoundation.org for information on how to do that. You can choose to be anonymous or we will proudly list you as one of our supporters on the website. Its up to you.

The Foundation is a deductible gift recipient and all donations over $2 are fully tax deductible. If you wish to make a donation then please click on the DONATE button below, or you can make contact with us at katie@maiwirufoundation.org

Does the company you work for support philanthropic projects?  We would love it if you could please spread the word of what we are achieving in the APY Lands, in the hope we can get much needed support to build our ‘good living cafes’.

Contact us here to find out more details about all the benefits of becoming a ‘Corporate Cousin’, including:

  • Corporate Pack – That Sugar Film and That Sugar Book
  • Corporate Wellness Program
  • Staff rewards – the opportunity for selected staff to visit one of the communities
  • Save lives and improve health of an outback community
  • Promotion and PR

Would you like to raise awareness and funds to assist us in achieving our goal?  Please contact us here to find out about screenings and other fund raising events.

We would love to hear from you if you are interested in volunteering your skills to assist us.

Meet the Team

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Damon Gameau
Director and Founder of the MWSCF

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Julie Buxton
Director

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Gavyn Tellis
Director

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John Tregenza
Consultant

Latest news

Take a sneak peek at the Australian Story feature that will be aired on Monday 5th September.  The crew joined us on our last trip to the APY Lands and really captured the spirit of the land and community and the efforts that are going into improving their health.
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a huge thanks to our generous sponsors

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Thanks also to the many wonderful members of the public who have already donated.

Contact Us

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Any text and images relating to deceased persons on this website have been reproduced with the permission of the appropriate families and authorities.  However Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers/viewers are warned that the contents of this website may include images and references to deceased persons.

The Mai Wiru Sugar Challenge Foundation would like to acknowledge and pay tribute to the elders and the traditional owners of the APY Lands.