Transforming the future for First Nations children in Australia
‘The Children's Ground Approach’ is a new, culturally designed support system that focusses on creating long-term change for children and their families. This interconnected approach, alongside local governance, empowerment methods, and a focus on cultural delivery and safety, has delivered incredible results. We’re thrilled to share some of our favourite impact stories below – and if you’d like to read more, be sure to check out the recently released Children Grounds’ impact report.
Women supporting next generation mums
In Darwin’s 15 Mile community, First Nations leaders have established the ‘Young Alidju (Aboriginal Women) Group’, which engages young women aged between 11-18 years. The group provides a safe space for the girls to gather, learn and share with family and Elders, engaging with integrated western sexual health education and cultural knowledge sharing.
Topics discussed include mental health and wellbeing, healthy and unhealthy and abusive relationships, puberty and hormones, periods and menstrual cycles, as well as self-care, anger management, bullying, sorry business (the mourning of an aboriginal death) and healthy coping mechanisms. Since implementation of the Young Alidju Group, the young women have become more confident and engaged each week.
Attendees have reported that providing a safe space for women to share their personal stories has led to further conversations within families and contributed to strengthening relationships between young women and their mothers, grandmothers, aunties and Elders. The relationships and trust built between health practitioners, women and families supports holistic health and wellbeing plans with women in community, which in turn builds health literacy and supports women to have agency over their health behaviours and wellbeing.
Children gaining knowledge and skills for life and learning
In the first semester of 2023, 28 children aged between 6-13 years engaged in primary education two days per week, alongside their family on their traditional lands. This is the first-time these children have had access to primary learning on their own Country, taught by cultural and western-trained educators. This is an important milestone.
Founding Elders set the directive to establish learning for school-aged children of Mpweringke Anapipe (Northern Outstations) and their families. This has taken years to realise. This is the first time since colonisation that a school-aged learning programme, a basic right for our children, has been accessible at Mpweringke Anapipe. Now children can progress through early childhood into primary learning on Country, through a learning system that comes from their culture and language. This is an important step in Children’s Ground’s progress to effect national reform in First Nations-led education.
Building a local First Nations workforce
Central to Children’s Ground’s long-term strategy of building a local First Nations workforce is training and professional development that recognises both First Nations and western standards, skills, practice knowledge and employment compliance. Across three regions, 121 First Nations people engaged in training and employment support with Children’s Ground.
In Central Australia and the Top End, training included legislative workplace requirements (first aid, health and safety, mandatory reporting, etc), computer skills , multi-media digital training and mentoring. Cultural skills and training occurred through working with Elders, linguistics (oral and written) and cultural knowledge sharing with senior cultural knowledge holders. Over the period, external training has included trauma-informed practice, narrative therapy, music therapy, family violence, safe and legal child seat installation, media training, adult literacy and management training, Certificate III in business administration and drivers licenses.
Virgin Unite is proud to support Children's Ground as it offers the very best opportunities that nurture brilliance and celebrate culture and spirit. Visit Children's Ground and learn more about its incredible work.