The community-driven approach to recovery is absolutely essential says Zena Armstrong.
Zena is the president of the Cobargo Community Bushfire Recovery Fund, which has raised about $700,000 in donations and provided about $100,000 of that to 16 projects so far.
"The community has the best understanding of what the needs are, where the needs are, the range of needs and ideas to address problems," she said.
"There's nothing worse than having a bunch of people parachuting in from the outside trying to tell us what we need.
"I also think there's a lot to be gained from a community that's seizing the moment and not just seeing it as a terrible tragedy, but also an opportunity.
"There's this notion that we have to build back better, while we mourn what we lost."
The fund's vision is for its community to implement a recovery that ensures Cobargo's district not only survives the unprecedented bushfire disaster, but emerges stronger and more connected.
It is a vision with which many have connected.
Musicians John Butler, The Waifs, San Cisco, Stella Donnelly and Carla Geneve held two concerts called Fire Aid as a fundraiser and donated $100,000 to the fund.
Legendary musician Colin Hay, who used to own property near Cobargo, provided $50,000.
In fact the volunteer-run fund, an initiative of the Yuin Folk Club which began to set it up only a week after the New Year's Eve fire decimated the region, has received a lot of support from the folk and arts community.
But it has also had a huge range of supporters, from people who have family in the area to the sex workers of Melbourne.
"We are very grateful, people are so generous," Zena said.
"I think a lot of people really like the fact that we are community run, we are transparent and they like the type of projects we are funding."
These projects vary, but Zena said the common theme between them all was they were about helping address trauma, whether they be activities for children or older people, or projects that brought people together.
For instance, the fund gave $2000 to the Cobargo Community Garden Project, $5700 to the Cobargo Community Garden Shed, as well as $5000 for a bike training track for children at Quaama Public School.
Zena said the projects were also about resilience and sustainability, such as with the Triangle Tool Library which received $20,000 from the fund and is to assist people who want to rebuild their home but do not have the tools to assist them.
She said one project she was very excited about was the Cobargo Showground Community Centre and Bushfire Refuge, with the fund putting $5000 towards its design concept.
"This project will provide us with a bushfire refuge at the showground that we didn't have," she said.
Zena said the recovery for the region would take time, so was unsure for how long her fund would operate.
"One of the things we are learning from our Victorian contacts is you're looking at a process of five to 10 years before people start to feel they have recovered and before a community gets back on its feet.
"As anyone who lives in this area knows the trauma is not far from the surface."
For more information on the fund and to donate visit www.bushfirerecovery.org.
Applications for initiatives that will benefit the community at the northern end of the Bega Valley Shire are welcome.
Zena said the fund would especially welcome community-designed projects that help people, particularly those encouraging young people, in the farm sector.