Right 2 the HEART
Basic Access to Education
Imagine if every Indigenous child could receive a high school education – even in the remoteness of Australia’s Red Heart.
For many Indigenous students reaching year 7 means leaving their community, and heading to a totally alien environment, to continue their high school education. Without the support of close family and friends, life in the unfamiliar environments of large cities and towns can break the hearts of many young Aboriginal students. Many give up on their education and return defeated to their home communities. A tragic loss to the potential of the child, a tragic loss to Australia.
The RIGHT 2 THE HEART project is a community led campaign raising funds to help a group of Indigenous students to continue their education ‘on country’ in a remote community in the Northern Territory.
Here’s the problem
Watarrka Primary School, set in the Red Heart of Australia, a five-hour drive from the nearest town Alice Springs, is set to lose a group of fine young students. After successfully completing the first six years of their schooling, these students feel apprehensive at the reality of having to leave family to attend high school.
To further their educaution it generally means the whole family can no longer live ‘on country’ but have to move to the closest town. In doing so, Indigenous families find it hard to adjust as they lose their way of life. In most cases it’s just too hard and they simply don’t go back to school.
We need to stop this cycle.
Community Elders believe their children feel more able to learn and are happiest being educated on their own country, rather than being sent away to a different environment that they are not so comfortable in, and where they find it a struggle to succeed.
If Indigenous students can stay on country with family and retain culture they are much more likely to become successful learners. Indigenous young people have 40% more chance of finding work if they have had an education up to year 10.
Every child counts and every child deserves the best opportunity to receive a high school education.
Here’s what we’re doing about it
The RIGHT 2 THE HEART campaign, set up by the non- profit Watarrka Foundation has set out to give these students hope and a ‘fair go’ at a rewarding future. Practically this means building a new classroom at Watarrka School, catering for post primary students.
After extensive community consultation and rigorous planning, building plans have been drawn up, builders organised, grants applied for, and support from established private schools generated – now it’s time to build. We need support from the broader community to complete building by start of school year in February 2018.
The campaign will be launched nationally on the 4th August, which coincides with the National Indigenous and Torres Straight Islander Children’s Day and will run for 5 weeks. There will also be a benefit concert in Melbourne on Saturday 2ndSeptember at Venue 303, Northcote.
While Watarrka Foundation’s dream in the long term is to build a new secondary school … In the short term, we can only move forward by constructing a new building at the Watarrka Primary School to retain students ‘on country’ and in education.
Please help us
We need to raise $200,000 to get this classroom built. Please donate generously for the future of young Indigenous Australians in the centre of Australia’s red HEART.
Thanks for supporting us
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”– Nelson Mandella
Making a real difference in the lives of young Indigenous Australians means a great deal to many people who live in this country.
For this we say ‘Palya’ – Thank You.
Andy and Dave