Tandara Pa Rainbow is a community-focused space for creativity, connection, culture and collective care.
Tandara Pa Rainbow is a not-for-profit born from Rainbow Muse. Our goal is to co-create safe spaces for people who want to express themselves, engage with community, feel supported and enjoy the magic of other humans.
Tandara Pa Rainbow is here for intersectional identities. We value all cultures, all identities, all abilities and all bodies. Our focus is on dismantling the ideologies that leave us feeling “othered.” We centre the needs of First Nations people, Black people, and People of Colour, and are a committed to accessibity and amplification of LGBTQIA+, neurodivergent and disabled communities.
We welcome all true allies. If you’re happy to be in spaces that focus on underrepresented groups and their needs, and in that space be willing to unlearn, be kind, brave, supportive, an affirming human, and part of the solution – we embrace you.
What does Tandara Mean?
Ta-nda-ra /taⁿɗara/ is a verb in the Shona language of Zimbabwe, found in Karanga, Korekore, Manyika and Zezuru dialects. Though Google translates “tandara” to mean “hang out” in English, my understanding of its meaning goes much deeper. KuTandara (to tandara) means visiting, being with, being a part of and spending time together in community.
When I was little growing up in Zimbabwe, my mumma would take me to the house of friends or family. As we arrived, they’d ask “Muruku tandara?” (“Are you going to tandara?”) If the answer was yes, I was probably going home past my bedtime, asleep in the car. I’d take off my shoes and get lost in whatever that house had to offer. To show up and know you are welcome – and can immerse yourself in a space where you're wanted and held – that’s my experience of being with others.
“Pa” means “on”. So we are going to tandara on the rainbow. The same rainbow that inspired Rainbow Muse wants to create something for people who need other structures. Rather than therapists treating clients, we’ll come together to co-create spaces within a community development setting.
Important note: I am a settler on this land. I used the word of my people but in sharing my language I do so emphasising that the word is a visitor on Wurundjeri Land, just as I am. We offer our vision of community connection with a commitment to honouring the owners of this land.
With this respect as our foundation and starting point, centring the Owners of this land, the invitation is also there for other cultures to share their own word, gesture or expression for Tandara. When we come together as our whole selves – with diverse histories, acknowledging the past – we create new futures.
How did we get here ?
Hi, I'm Chenai and I founded Rainbow Muse in 2019. After working in mental health settings for over a decade, I wanted to find another way to do therapy – a way that was creative and fit for people who don’t like boxes. This dream exploded and a little team grew out of it. In 2022 I joined forces with my best friend Sammy and we opened Rainbow Muse Clinic.
After a few months, our clinic and all its therapists were full and our waitlist was overflowing to the point we had to close our books. I was sitting in our clinic, looking at the “by appointment only” sign outside, knowing our website said no new clients. My heart ached realizing how inaccessible this setting is for a lot of communities.
My brain got to wondering how I could work with community and find other ways to be part of humans creating together and making meaning. Years in community development showed me the power of community, togetherness, creating, moving, playing and sharing. We need spaces of radical kindness and acceptance where people can be supported in coming together to be creative, express themselves and co-construct meaning within the context of their experiences and identities – from a place of equality and openness.
The answer was Tandara Pa Rainbow, an expression of radical love and imagination. A space for celebrating culture, art-making, social justice, creative expression, wellness and community care, with a multi-systems advocacy approach that acknowledges systems and prioritises community building and the collective.
My mother Eunice taught me what it means to Tandara, to belong, to create, to be held and to spread love. She passed in February and my heart broke. I picked up the pieces to create Tandara Pa Rainbow. I was surrounded by the love and support that has formed the Tandara Team. This Includes Co-Directors Ramya Krishna and Sammy Elliott, along with an amazing Board. I can't wait for you to see them expressed here too.
What do we do?
Our focus is on co-creating creative programs, projects and initiatives led by the diverse people who find their way to us. We already have things in the pipeline, but to define what we do: we listen to you and then figure it out together.
Rainbow Muse Clinic focuses on mental health and therapy, however Tandara is all about community, creating and connection. Of course, all our work is also informed by culturally-responsible, trauma-informed and evidence-based practices, guided by curiosity and adaptability. This ensures the spaces are safe.
Offerings will include facilitated programs, trainings, workshops and more relaxed gatherings. This can involve creative arts, therapeutic arts, mindfulness, movement, music, food, nature, cross-cultural sharing, activism, peer-led offerings and safe community support spaces.
We’re excited to go on this journey with you.
Mental Health and Therapy
Tandara Pa Rainbow has deliberately been created as a community building organisation. It is not a mental health clinical service. For therapy services please visit the Rainbow Muse Clinic website. RMC continues to offers art therapy, psychology, child-centred play therapy, animal-assisted therapy and yoga in our inclusive environment that celebrates diversity. RMC clinicians have a social justice lens, and a commitment to decolonial and anti-racist work. You may see them doing TPR projects but clinical work will continue to be done in Rainbow Muse Clinic appointments.
The Clinic is a safe, inclusive, affirming and culturally appropriate space for processing feelings and experiences. We believe that lived experience always trumps academic learning, and we are committed to supporting, protecting, learning from, and empowering people from the bottom up. It's a safe and non-clinical space (even though its clinical work) for people who don’t like, or don’t easily fit into boxes.
There are really long waitlists for most mental health services. Rainbow Muse unfortunately often has a long waitlist and at times needs to close it as we cannot keep people waiting indefinitely. Rainbow Muse does prioritise people who are marginalised, or who sit on the intersection of multiple identities.
Tandara Pa Rainbow is part of Rainbow Muse Clinic.
We are co-located at 92 Cleeland Street Dandenong.
Please note Rainbow Muse Clinic sessions are by appointment only.
Tandara Pa Rainbow runs programs from space but not at the same time as private individual therapy sessions. Currently TPR does not have a drop in service, we can participate in community spaces that offer this and want us to join in.
We hope to be able to offer more opportunities for togetherness as we grow.