About Us

The Manumea Bird

Deep within the lush greenery of Samoa’s rainforests, the Manumea bird, both rare and enchanting, makes its home. This bird, exclusive to Samoa’s rich yet delicate habitat, beautifully symbolises the diverse journey of individuals from myriad cultures, ages, and backgrounds. In the Manumea’s distinct presence amidst Samoa’s wilderness, we see a reflection of the unique paths carved by people from all sorts of heritages, navigating the multifaceted realms of a multicultural society.

The Manumea’s flight, an embodiment of both resilience and finesse, parallels the life experiences of individuals from varied cultural, linguistic, and religious backgrounds. These individuals journey through the diverse terrain of life, each step a testament to their deep-rooted cultural identities and narratives. In their adaptation to the evolving dynamics of a global society, their paths resonate with the Manumea’s struggle within Samoa’s dense forests, facing challenges with both strength and poise.

By adopting the name ‘Manumea Collective’, we align ourselves with the profound symbolism of this extraordinary bird. This name signifies our dedication to supporting, empowering, and bringing together people from every age, culture, and walk of life. Much like the Manumea, which is a vital part of Samoa’s ecological and cultural fabric, every individual in our collective contributes to weaving the rich and diverse tapestry of our shared human journey, fostering a future as varied, dynamic, and enduring as the majestic Manumea itself.

Parents and daughter graduation

The Manumea Story

In the midst of a cold Australian winter, our Leo the lioness, was born. With a voice that radiated strength and warmth, she embodied the spirit of an extrovert, a social butterfly, and a source of boundless joy. As a young girl, she revelled in dressing up, her imagination taking flight with each twirl. She was our happy-go-lucky child, always standing up against bullies and fiercely protecting her friends. Art and dance were her passions, channels through which she expressed her creative soul.

But the year 2020 brought unforeseen challenges. As she embarked on her final year of high school, the pandemic cast its shadow, disrupting routines and plunging her generation into uncertainty. Alongside this, she grappled with the heartbreaking loss of her grandmother and the tragic suicide of a dear family friend. These immense burdens weighed heavily on her shoulders.

At 18, the darkness of mental illness seeped into her life, gradually eroding her spirit. By 19, her mental health continued to decline, and at 20, she found herself trapped in a disorienting reality, tormented by auditory and visual hallucinations. As a  family, we stood by her, forming an unwavering support system, but her once vibrant voice was silenced, her laughter and radiant smile faded.

Navigating the complexities of her mental health journey tested us in unimaginable ways. We confronted the heartbreak of witnessing our beloved child slipping away into the depths of illness. As caregivers, this took a toll, straining our unity and pushing us towards burnout. Yet, through it all, hope endured. United, we vowed to fight the stigma surrounding mental illness and raise awareness, particularly within multicultural communities.

In our quest for healing, we discovered the Australian mental health system lacked multicultural service providers, so we have decided to create our own directory offering guidance and solace – counseling, support groups, and specialized programs tailored to the multicultural community as beacons of light. 

There is no one-size-fits-all model when it comes to mental health. So you will find medication management works for some but is not always the answer for others, and that there are various alternative therapeutic interventions which begin to weave threads of hope back into our lives. Along this path, we found strength in connecting with these multicultural holistic pathways (who gave hope and shared our struggles) building a community of support, understanding, and shared experiences.

We embody our daughter’s journey and the collective resilience of our family, serving as a reminder that amidst the darkness, hope can be found, and through sharing our story we pave the way for empathy, understanding, and a brighter future for all those affected by mental illness.

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