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Standing Up for Community

In an interview with Tearfund's Ben Clarke, Dorothy Clinch talks about her work with Tearfund Partner Mooditj Keila.

Moorditj Keila Doco Still

Dorothy Clinch - Manager of Moorditj Keila

Moorditj Keila is an Aboriginal community organisation based in South Perth. It works to strengthen and support the community through a range of projects. Watch this short documentary to learn more.

Watch the documentary

What does Standing Up look like for your community?

Before working for Moorditj Keila I was a member of the local women's group. I did a lot of things with the ladies group. My children have been involved with Moorditj Keila with their basketball club and I was volunteering with them, coaching the basketball teams and helping with children’s events. This was all before I became the manager of Moorditj Keila.

I wanted to be more involved in the community and that is why I came back as the manager. I had been working in Aboriginal health, working in the community and when the opportunity came up to work with Moorditj Keila I wanted to come back. I wanted to support the community because I know when things were difficult for me, when I wasn't working and I didn't have all the support I needed, Moorditj Keila was a place that gave me that community.

Dorothy Clinch MK NADOC 22 Banner 1
Dorothy Clinch MK NADOC 22 Banner 2
Dorothy Clinch MK NADOC 22 Banner 3
A banner produced by Mooditj Keila for the 2022 NIDOC theme 'Get up, Stand up, Show up'. Images used with permission.

Community and Kingdom

In my lowest times it was really helpful coming to the ladies group where there were a lot of older Christian ladies. I got a lot of mentoring and support from ladies who had already been through things that I was going through. They guided me a lot with decisions that I made in my life. That was the reason why I came back to Moorditj Keila because I felt like I wanted to do more Kingdom work and because I was questioning a lot of stuff myself. I was questioning what I was doing.

I love working with the team here at Moorditj Keila that has a similar understanding of the Kingdom. Being able to pray together through situations and being able to share your faith in God with others is good. When I worked in health it wasn't like that. It wasn't as open and free as here at Moorditj Keila.

How would you describe your spiritual running race?

Sometimes in my spiritual race I have actually been trying to run away, but the Lord has put it in my heart that I am the kind of person who loves helping and supporting others.

There have been times where I have just wanted to give up running the race. I actually did give up a few times! As a young woman and a young mother I was sometimes confused about what my purpose was, and who I was, but the Lord always was there. And He always bought the right people across my path.

Who are some of the “cloud of witnesses” in your life?

I did have a really dear friend of mine (she has passed now) who really disciplined me for 10 years. She showed me a different walk with the Lord than what I had seen or been taught. She helped me put a lot of good boundaries in my life. That helped me to make different decisions for myself. They were hard at the time, but they were all worth it in the end.

My mum has also been a huge encouragement to me. She has always reminded me that she is there to talk to. My family has always been there as well. They have been a place of security and I when you just need to go back to who you are sometimes your roots.

The women and the community at Moorditj Keila are always supportive. They always give encouragement, especially when I don't feel like I'm making a difference with my work. They always remind me that everything's okay, that they are there to support me and they always pray with me and for me.

I have always trusted in the Lord. No matter how hard my situation was... the Lord knew my future even though it wasn't there yet. I had to stay in that race to get there. I had to go through these things to get there.

What is it that gives you strength?

I have always trusted in the Lord. No matter how hard my situation was, like when I was living without a licence and with small children, trying to study and to do everything, the Lord knew my future even though it wasn't there yet. I had to stay in that race to get there. I had to go through these things to get there.

Sometimes I feel strong and sometimes I'm tired from this work. When the tired bit comes, then it's the strength of the others that are doing it that pulls me through. When I see them still doing it I want to join in with them to continue to “run the race”.

What would be some prayer points that we could pray with you and with Moorditj Keila?

Please pray for more helping hands. There is a lot of work, a lot of things to do, but not enough hands and physical bodies around to do it. I know we are not going to provide for everyone's needs but if we had a few more helping hands then running the “race set before us” would be a bit easier.

The basketball club is run by volunteers and we would love more help there. In the office there is a lot of admin support and we need coordinators. As the manager I find myself putting on all those hats!

Pray for the people, the women, basketball kids and the people that do the driving training that they will feel the love of God that we want to pour into them.

Pray for me as manager to have more confidence in things that I'm doing because I often second guess myself in my new role. I don't want to give up on it when I face problems that I can get through.

Dorothy Clinch is the manager of Moorditj. She is a grandmother and happily living with her husband and daughters in Perth.