The MaraWay is a not-for-profit organisation in Cairns rolling up its sleeves to tackle the tough issues in our community. But we’re doing it a little bit differently.
Actually, we doing it a lot differently.
You see we want to change lives by helping people help themselves. We’ve had so many success stories, but sometimes they’ve needed a bit of a push to get there.
We call it the tough love approach. And you’d better believe we’ll use it.
We start by setting the boundaries and making it clear we’re not here to judge. We won’t give up. We’ll go out of our way to get them on track and show unconditional respect, but the arrangement must be mutual.
We’ve had homeless people wander into our Community Hub and we’ve spent weeks (sometimes months) guiding them, connecting them to the right services, and simply taking the time to listen and ease the loneliness.
We’ve given no end of leeway to students doing our vocational training who’ve needed time out to deal with family matters and personal issues.
But sometimes we’ve had to draw the line and say “Enough is enough. We can’t help you if you won’t help yourself.”
Then we’ve watched them take small positive steps in the right direction, doing things for themselves and managing their lives, and that’s when our support kicks back in. Full throttle.
That’s what makes us really different. You see, we asked the “what if we weren’t restricted by government funding?” question. That’s when the scales fell from our eyes and we knew we had to do it differently.
We realised we were tying up 30% of our resources looking for funding, applying for funding and reporting to funding bodies. So we asked ourselves “What if we redirected that 30% to creating sustainable income streams and improving our services and outcomes?”
We’re still helping people who need it most. We’re just doing it a new way. A better way.
Now we can create and evolve our services based on the needs of the community here in Cairns. Not the criteria of funding buckets from down south.
And our financial independence gives everyone the surety we’re here for the long haul. Not just until the next funding contract runs out.
We were a typical service provider, scrambling for the same diminishing government funding as others, while the same community issues persisted, decade after decade.
Something had to change. That’s why we need a new way.
You see, like it or not, the issues affect us all. That’s why we restructured our business model to partner with you, the Cairns business and broader community.
We’re all in this together. As a community our future is bound together, and we need you to support The MaraWay. We need donations and financial partners. We need advocates, collaborators and professional advice. We need ideas and hands-on support from people who care enough to help us shape the future wellbeing of Cairns.
We’re changing the way things have been done in the past by diversifying into new commercial activities so sustainable profits can help support our community services for the long haul.
We can’t do it alone. We need to find new partners and support from people and businesses in Cairns who are willing to invest in our community to make a difference.
Mara means ‘hands’ in the Djabugay language.
You see, we lend a pragmatic hand (there’s that tough love again) to help people help themselves. We also believe it’s time to put the future of our community into local hands and get off the merry-go-round of good intentions and wasted resources.
It’s time for many hands in Cairns to work together to make a difference.