About Us

The Water Well Project is an award-winning charity that improves the health and wellbeing of communities from migrant, refugee and asylum seeker backgrounds by improving their health literacy.

Our core activity is the provision of free, interactive, community-based, health education sessions delivered by volunteer healthcare professionals across Victoria, Tasmania and New South Wales.

The Water Well Project utilises a community-centric model by working closely with refugee and migrant support organisations. Sessions are delivered upon requests from community groups and co-designed alongside community partners. This means that sessions are tailored to the needs of each community group and delivered in a culturally safe manner. 


Our Vision

  • To ensure all communities from migrant, refugee and asylum seeker backgrounds achieve equitable access to healthcare,

Our Purpose

  • To promote good health and wellbeing to communities from migrant, refugee and asylum seeker backgrounds in Australia by improving their health literacy.

Our Values

  • Collaboration
  • Compassion
  • Respectfulness of diversity
  • Integrity
  • Accountability

Photo: Linny’s parents, Hung and Nguyet, in 1979 (their first year of arrival in Australia), sitting outside the North Richmond housing commission flats

The Water Well Project was founded by Dr Linny Kimly Phuong in 2011, inspired by her own experiences as the daughter of parents who arrived in Australia as refugees from Vietnam in the late 1970s.

Throughout her childhood, Linny watched her parents navigate the healthcare system and would often act as the child interpreter during their medical appointments. Now a doctor herself, she understands the difficulties these communities may have in accessing healthcare services - different cultural beliefs of health and disease, language barriers, and emphasis in preventive healthcare to name a few.

The Water Well Project was founded to improve the understanding by these communities of health, common conditions, and the Australian healthcare system, to empower them to take responsibility for the health of themselves and their families and communities.







The Water Well Project recognises that open and informed dialogue is the first step to effective healthcare. In traditional communities, a river, water pump, or water well, signifies a place where people congregate, not only to gather water, but also to share stories, knowledge and experience. Even though many communities no longer have a water well, we aim to create these spaces for exchange and conversation between healthcare professionals and community groups to spread practical, culturally safe and accurate health information to individuals and families.



Current Grants

  • City of Melton
  • Diabetes Victoria
  • EastWeb Foundation
  • Federation of Ethnic Communities Councils of Australia (FECCA)
  • Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation
  • Maddocks Foundation
  • Multicultural New South Wales
  • Scanlon Foundation
  • Victorian Government, Department of Premier and Cabinet / Department of Families, Fairness and Housing, Priority Response to Multicultural Communities during Coronavirus (PRMC)
  • Victorian Government, Department of Premier and Cabinet / Department of Families, Fairness and Housing, Multicultural Communications Outreach Program (MCOP)

Previous Grants

  • Australian Government Department of Social Services
  • Australian Medical Association
  • City of Casey
  • Federation of Ethnic Communities Councils of Australia (FECCA)
  • Geelong Communities Foundation
  • Multicultural New South Wales
  • North Western Melbourne Primary Health Network
  • R.E. Ross Trust Foundation
  • The Barlow Foundation
  • Victorian Government, Department of Premier and Cabinet / Victorian Multicultural Commission, Capacity Building and Participation Program

Pro-bono support

  • A/Prof Georgia Paxton, Department of General Medicine- Immigrant Health Unit, Royal Children’s Hospital
  • Claudia Ribeiro and team, Multicultural Office, Department of Premier & Cabinet (Victoria)
  • Maddocks Lawyers
  • Meg Quartermaine, Kath Desmyth and team- Victorian Refugee Health Network
  • Mr Cameron Glover, Collective Spark
  • Mr Patrick Byrne
  • Ms Janetta Ziino
  • Ms Marta Kreiser
  • Ms Rebecca Pinney-Meddings
  • Professor Rob Moodie
  • Solpoint Accounts trading as Resimax Group
  • Translating Interpreting Services (TIS) National, Department of Home Affairs
  • Vivienne Nguyen, Celia Tran and team- Victorian Multicultural Commission

Major donors

  • Alfred Felton Bequest
  • AMES Australia
  • Ammy Lam Photography
  • Biomedica
  • Bubbles and Briefcases
  • Charity Tap
  • Deakin University Student Association
  • Dr Coen Butters and Kim Butters, and their generous friends and family, who made donations to The Water Well Project as a wedding gift
  • Endeavour Hills Pharmacy
  • Geelong Smart Centre
  • Grill’d Local Matters
  • John and Myriam Wylie Foundation
  • Learn to Eat. Love to Eat
  • Our Chair, Dr Linny Phuong, who donated the proceeds from her Suncorp Local Heroes Award
  • Peter Ngo
  • Rob and Gil Roseby
  • Russell Kennedy Lawyers
  • Team Med
  • The Parkville Postgraduate Association
  • The Royal Ball Organisers (collaboration between The Royal Children’s, Royal Women’s and Royal Melbourne Hospitals)
  • The Royal Children’s Hospital RMO Society
  • Vermont South Pharmacy

Individual Contributions

We would like to thank the following people (who worked above and beyond the capacity of their organisations) for their assistance and guidance during the set-up of this initiative:

  • Dr James Hillis, AMA Doctors in Training Past-President 2010-11
  • Dr Joanne Gardiner
  • Dr Sam Merriel, AMA Doctors in Training President 2011
  • Founding Committee- Dr Caitlin O’Mahony, Dr David Humphreys, Dr Anna Brischetto, Dr Kiran Manya, Mr Alessio Bresciani
  • Ms Marta Kreiser
  • Ms May Maloney
  • Ms Michelle Bourke
  • Ms Rebecca Pinney-Meddings
  • Ms Sue Casey
  • Ms Willow Kellock

TWWP Constitution