Happy Boxes: Empowering Women and Celebrating Culture in 37 Remote Northern Territory Communities

March 8th marks International Women’s Day, a day to celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. It is a day to recognise the progress that has been made in advancing women’s rights and to acknowledge the work that still needs to be done to achieve gender equality. This year, Norther is proud to support The Happy Boxes programme for women, particularly those in remote communities in the Northern Territory.

What is the Happy Boxes Project?

The Happy Boxes Project is a charity that aims to spread kindness to women in the most remote and isolated communities of Australia. Their goal is to empower Aboriginal women that don’t have access to basic products for personal hygiene and beauty products. Last financial year, the Happy Boxes Project sent over 3000 Happy Boxes to over 70 communities throughout Australia. Their goal for 2022 is to create 4000 Happy Boxes to send to women who otherwise wouldn’t have access to basic personal hygiene items.

In a recent survey conducted with their 48 coordinators, the Happy Boxes Project found that 70% of them claimed that more often than not, women are going without access to toiletries and sanitary items. When asked what they felt was the biggest disadvantage facing women in remote communities, 80% selected ‘all of the above”, indicating that lack of employment, lack of mental health support, overcrowded housing, and limited access to affordable groceries were having a negative impact on the wellbeing of women.

two first nations girls standing with big smiles in a tropical environment
Leicolhn McKellar Photography
hygiene boxes for first nations
first nations girls opening their happy boxes sitting on the dirt in the bush

Happy Boxes in the Northern Territory

Some remote Indigenous communities are up to 1000kms away from the nearest store, and some are only accessible via boat or plane. Even if there is access to these stores, there is often limited product availability and heavy price gouging occurs. These issues have been exacerbated due to COVID-19, with many communities cut off from suppliers and not receiving deliveries. The Happy Boxes Project is doing important work in addressing these challenges and providing essential products to women in need.

In the Northern Territory Happy Boxes are sent to communities such as Elliott, Gunbulanya, Jabiru, Laynhapuy, Nhulunbuy, Peppimenarti, Darwin Maternity Ward, Darwin Boarding School, Alice Hub, Darwin Hub, Borroloola, Galiwinku, Warruwi, Ntaria Yuendumu, Baniyala, Rammingining, Tiwi, Arlparra, Galiwin’ku, Minyerri, Nyirripi, Garrthalala, Jilkminggan, Katherine, Beswick, Barunga, Daly River, Santa Teresa, Willowra, Wugulurr, Yarralin, Yirrara College, Gapuwiyak, Ernabella/Pukatja, Urapunga, and Kintore.

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Why Support Happy Boxes?

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women’s health is statistically poorer than other women in Australia. The Happy Boxes Project wants to change this narrative by looking after the women who look after everyone else. They recognize that matriarchs are the backbone of every community and want to empower them in every way possible. The Happy Boxes Project is dedicated to providing a culturally safe environment for Aboriginal women to learn, heal, connect, and belong through various events and workshops.

Norther is proud to support the Happy Boxes Project and the important work they are doing for women in remote communities. By supporting this cause, we are helping to improve the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal women and their families. If you would like to support the Happy Boxes Project, you can run a Happy Boxes drive or make a donation on their website. Let’s come together this International Women’s Day to support and empower women everywhere.

Financial donations can be made here or get your sisters together and run a drive creating a Happy Box to be sent out, instructions can be found here

happy box sitting on the red dirt with the cascading outback view in the background

Get your daily fix of Northern Territory beauty courtesy of Norther® by following @darwinweloveyou and @northerhq. You can also check out more Northern Territory content by following Norther’s Facebook. Please sign up here to join our newsletter list to be the first to get travel hints and local recommendations. 

*Cover image by Leicolhn McKellar Photography. 

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NORTHER ® provides encouragement for travellers to value, enjoy and explore the NT in a one-of-kind way so they can honour and respect culture through care and integrity.

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