Robinvale Men's Program going strong

A cross-cultural connection is proving a key element to the success of an Aboriginal men’s program at Robinvale.

Mallee District Aboriginal Services has operated the Men’s Time Out Services at Robinvale for the past two years, with a focus on healing and behaviour change.
But an energetic case worker from Ghana, who joined the MDAS Robinvale team six months ago, has taken the program to a new level.
Joseph (Joe) Asirifi brought a wealth of knowledge and life experience from work for the United Nations in peacekeeping operations in many countries and also having lived in China, Thailand and South Korea.
“I haven’t worked in the Aboriginal community before and the men initially weren’t quite sure about me – I’m obviously from quite a different background,” Joe said.
Joe is never seen without his trademark tie, so it set him apart from other men who’d worked with the Men’s Time Out Program before.
“At first, they teased me a bit, telling me I was too dressed up to work with them!” Joe said.
“But that’s turned around now, and they’ve come around to the idea that wearing the tie is just one part of who I am,” he said.
The affection culminated with the men on two occasions presenting Joe with special Koori-themed ties to complement his extensive collection and show appreciation.
“I was very honoured – it was pretty special and showed me how much our relationship has grown through the year,” Joe said.
The Men’s Time Out Program has grown from basically nothing this year to 28 men on the caseload.

Joe’s mentor Stephan Gocol said his consistency with the men and his genuine care had resonated with the group, and more and more participants were coming on board.
“The more they came to see Joe’s passion and knowledge to guide them, the more they began to warm to him.  The things they made fun of at the start they are now embracing,” Stephan said.
Joe said it was exciting to see the tangible impacts the program was having.
“When we started the men were fairly reluctant to come along and whereas we struggled to get three men along to our weekly sessions at the start, we now usually have between 13 and 18 attending each week,” he said.
“Even just having so many come along regularly is a huge difference, but over time the men have also become quite open with me about what help they need.
“That’s meant I can put some of them in touch with ways to find jobs and some are also working on getting their driver’s licences.
“These are big, big steps forward.  But it’s all about building the relationships over time and talking together as brothers and friends, and that is what we do.”
The Men’s Time Out Program is available through Mallee District Aboriginal Services at Robinvale (03) 5026 1848.

Pictured: Men’s Time Out participant Harry presents one of the ties to Joseph Asirifi

Other News

Community Leadership Group 2020
Young artist winners announced
Our Mob Speaks Update
MDAS innovations supporting community in COVID-19
Service delivery 'COVID-normal' at MDAS
On-the-spot COVID-19 testing to help protect our mobs
Free Meningococcal B Vaccine for Aboriginal children
Art competition to design Aboriginal breast screen shawl
$1000 prizes for Mallee female artists
Reconciliation is an ongoing journey
Touching tribute to the Stolen Generations
A touching tribute for Sorry Day
Listening to Our Mob Speak
Local voice part of Reconciliation event
Statement - CEO resignation
Coronavirus information
Coronavirus - Am I At Risk?
Get painting for Mallee NAIDOC design competition
Good food for hungry tummies!
Mallee NAIDOC Art Competition postponed
Swan Hill Art Competition Winners
Award nominations for Swan Hill Youth team
New Aged Care and Disability Services hub open for business
Swan Hill-Kerang Indigenous Art competition
Reward and Recognition
Mallee Tigers take out state title at VACSAL
Mallee Tigers roar towards Indigenous carnival
Victorian First Peoples urged to ‘get enrolled’
Gambling research paper published
Hands-on fun for Aboriginal Children's Day
Menera Farm a hive of activity
Weekly Koori News July 5 & 6
Weekly Koori News June 28 - 29
Koori News June 14-15
MDAS Robinvale office open for business
Trying to get in touch at Kerang?
Make a change! EVOLVE!
Calls to share autism experience
Tick of approval in accreditations
MDAS Mildura celebrates Close the Gap Day
New mums' group reaches new families
Robinvale staff on the move
Bringing cultural knowledge to kinder
MDAS leading the way on better services for elders
Welcome to our new board member
Wearing red for heart health
Kick Start to a heathy 2019
New advertising campaign targets family violence
MDAS Clinician recognised for leadership
HIPPY celebration for happy graduates
Men's healing gives back to the community
New pharmacy service at MDAS
Research calling for input from Koori cancer patients
Talking out the challenges together
Gambling no laughing matter
Know a Deadly Hero?
Spring 2018 Newsletter out now!
Gambling figures prompt Mildura forum
Robinvale Men's Program going strong
Congratulations to our NAIDOC Award winners
Deadly Choices comes to the Mallee
Partnership takes smoke-free message to shoppers

MALLEE DISTRICT ABORIGINAL SERVICES  “Our Vision: Generations of vibrant, healthy and strong Aboriginal communities”

Community Leadership Group 2020

Read more


Young artist winners announced

Read more


Our Mob Speaks Update

Read more


MDAS innovations supporting community in COVID-19

Read more


Service delivery 'COVID-normal' at MDAS

Read more


Early Years Therapeutic and Quality Care Facilitator (Mildura/Swan Hill)

View details


Mature-Aged Trainee ACSASS Caseworker** (Mildura)

View details


Aboriginal Health Worker Trainee - Early Years** (Mildura)

View details


Trainee - Health Promotions Officer** (Mildura & Swan Hill)

View details

Swan Hill

Aboriginal Health Worker Trainee - Early Years** (Swan Hill)

View details

View all current vacancies

120 Madden Avenue Mildura
Phone (03) 5018 4100

70 Nyah Road Swan Hill
Phone (03) 5032 8600

9 Nolan Street Kerang
Phone (03) 5412 6004

77 Perrin St Robinvale
Phone (03) 4013 2000

Interested in*:

MDAS - Quality Innovation Performance Accredited
MDAS - Quality Innovation Performance Accredited