A public laundry with washing machines and dryers that work, power and water that is reliable and detergent that never runs out is a practical way to improve the health of the community.
The Remote Laundries project is obviously about washing which improves sanitation, but we believe it is equally about creating employment in community, creating valuable jobs that are filled by people who live in the community.
We work closely with schools because often school children won’t turn up because they don’t have clean clothes. We want our laundries to be a part of the school attendance solution.
The AIG Remote Laundries project aims to:
- Reduce rates of scabies
- Reduce rates of trachoma
- Reduce rhematic heart disease
- Improve school attendance
- Create jobs filled by locals
Created by AIG and Richard Jay Ltd in South Australia, the laundromat is a 20 foot container with a special hydraulic arm that lifts up the front and opens or closes (and secures) the laundry.It was built to be indestructible!
Inside the laundry has 4 washers and 4 dryers. There is a secure room off to the side with a sink, power control and chemicals (which are automatically fed to the washing machines) so the users don’t need to bring detergent.
The units can be moved so the project can be responsive to the needs of the people. If a laundry is better placed somewhere else, it can just be moved.
The Remote Laundries project started in 2018 at a pilot site in Barunga; an Aboriginal community about 80km southeast of Katherine in the Northern Territory of Australia.
Barunga is a fantastic community made up of about 300 proud people who are active motivated to get the best for their community. We are extremely grateful to Barunga for letting us learn the best practice for running our Remote Laudries in their community.
During the pilot phase, we wanted to create a blueprint for community consultation so that when other communities get a laundry, we will have a good system in place to negotiate not only how the laundry will function but also what value the laundry can offer the community through jobs and improving sanitation.
Turning up and plonking a laundry in a community without the right consultation process will be a fast track to failure so we are mindful of the importance of working with key groups in the community to support their work as well as garner support for our project.
Ongoing consultation is also key. Like any service in any small community, people need to be communicated with all the time! It is our job to find out the best way to talk to the people of the community about how the laundry works and what it can offer the community.
Our consultation process involves these key groups:
- Community leaders and Traditional Owners
- Health services and staff
- Community store
- Local Council
- Local CDP program
- Local media (radio, store pin up board, newsletters, meetings)