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BRIDGING THE GAP

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ELCHO ISLAND STUDENT VISIT

ELCHO ISLAND STUDENT VISIT

In an effort to address some of the many challenges that Indigenous children face in remote communities, teachers from Galiwin’ku – a remote Aboriginal community on Elcho Island in north-east Arnhem Land – decided to take a group of their students to a major Australian city: Sydney.

Galiwin’ku is one of the few Aboriginal communities where traditional culture and language is still very much part of everyday life. Due to the remoteness of the community and the lack of employment opportunities, many people simply do not have an income and rarely have the opportunity to explore life outside the Island.

Aiming to address school attendance and the vast gap between Aboriginal students and their non-indigenous counterparts, the teachers believed this experience would broaden the students’ aspirations and opportunities. The students also expressed a desire to meet other Aboriginal people to share their stories - another important part of their journey.

On Monday 14 November Sydney Opera House welcomed 28 of these students from grades 8 and 9 (13-16 years old). For most, English is a 3rd language that is only spoken in the classroom.

The House was proud to be involved in this once-in-a-lifetime adventure for the students and provided them with a:
    • Special tour around the House
    • Tailored ‘amazing race’-style activity with prizes 
    • Lunch at the Studio Café

Beneficial outcomes for these students included:
    • Emphasising the importance of school attendance – all students were required to have 85% 
      school attendance in order to be considered to join the excursion (25% above the average in 
      remote communities)
    • Providing them with the opportunity to:
        - Build confidence by using their English in a real-life context;
        - Learn the value of money and saving, since each child and their family was required to 
          contribute a small portion of the cost towards their trip;
        - Meet other Aboriginal people and share their stories;
        - Become ambassadors for their community;
        - See a city other than Darwin;
        - Learn about some of the opportunities that exist outside their communities.

The teachers believe that these students have the potential to make real change, with this trip offering them the opportunity to see how it might be possible for dreams to become reality and, coupled with their own ambition, giving them increased empowerment to achieve long-term goals.

Through the support of our generous donors we are able to inspire and make a difference to the lives of children such as these. DONATE NOW

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