An Aboriginal cultural program in Western Sydney celebrated 11 years of connecting local Aboriginal children with their heritage through storytelling, songs in Dharug language, arts, crafts and painting.
The program, Gulyangarra Yellamundie, has been supported by Anglicare and taught at four local schools. Local Aboriginal elders, like Aunty Rita, were involved in its design and delivery.
“Anglicare is so beautiful to us,” said Aunty Rita at a celebration morning tea at Anglicare’s Mt Druitt site on Wednesday 17 December 2019. “It’s so great to work with Christian people.”
The program wraps up this year after its government funding was not renewed.
“Today we all gotta be happy – it’s going to be hard in our hearts, but God has something planned. I hope He keeps us all together and that Anglicare can keep helping those who really need it,” said Aunty Rita.
The celebration morning tea was attended by local Aboriginal Elders, school representatives, a local government member and Anglicare staff and volunteers.
“Over time we have proved our worth in this community, with the help of Aunty Rita. She helped us bridge gaps and build partnerships in the community,” said Kathy Donnelly, Anglicare’s Aboriginal Liaison Officer.
“I really want the community to know that we’re not going anywhere. We’re here building bridges and partnerships – that’s our vision and mission as an organisation, to be working with vulnerable clients.”
Ruby Campbell, Anglicare’s Family Services Team Leader at Mt Druitt, has been involved with this project since its inception and said that there were many success stories that had come out of this program.
“Over time we saw more Aboriginal kids coming to school and staying afterwards for the cultural classes. But this program is really about family and encouraging kids to find out who is in their family,” says Ruby.
Each school that has been involved in the program was presented with a framed artwork to commemorate their participation, along with a collection of resources including a map of all the Aboriginal countries in Australia, a guide to writing stories with symbols, and song lyrics in the Dharug language.
Anglicare is committed to working collaboratively with Aboriginal communities to ensure the ongoing wellbeing of the Indigenous members of our communities.
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