Tuesday 19th of May The MADALAH team set off on our first regional trip for 2020 through the Wheatbelt and Great Southern, in an effort to share our scholarship opportunities with families, students, schools, communities and corporations. Having identified previously the need to further reach these regions we wanted to share these life changing opportunities that we can offer to regional Noongar families.
The first leg of our trip was to Narrogin; here we met staff and families from Narrogin Senior High School and Narrogin Primary School. We met passionate staff who gave us insight into the amazing students who had been through their doors and the huge potential these students have.
During our time in Narrogin we met with Leanne Kickett from KEEDAC (Kaata-Koorliny Employment and Enterprise Development Aboriginal Corporation). KEEDAC is a corporation whose objective is to improve the welfare of Aboriginal people by helping develop a well-grounded future for young lives. Leanne spoke about the community and how we can best spread the word to encourage families to apply. Leanne agreed this was a great opportunity for the families in the region and said she would support us in sharing with her networks.
Next stop was Katanning Primary School, we had a great discussion with the Principal and Aboriginal Islander Education Officer about potential students and some of their former students who went on to become MADALAH students and how we can work together to encourage more applicants from the area.
We were lucky enough to meet with Julie Hayden Director and Business Development Manager of Badgebup Aboriginal Corporation. BAC endeavours to be the leading Aboriginal business enterprise, providing employment and training opportunities for Noongar people in conservation and land management programs and the bush foods industry. Julie shared the passion we share for improving the education of our students to break the generational disadvantage. Julie agreed to share our scholarship opportunities. Julie’s anecdotes and passion really resonate with us.
Next stop was Tambellup where the kind people at the Community Resource Centre let us use their facilities to help spread the word with the families of Tambellup.
Our final stop for the day was Albany to stay overnight, get as warm as possible and prep for the big day ahead.
On Wednesday 20th of May we visited to North Albany Senior High School to speak to the students in the Clontarf Academy, Follow the Dream program and The Wirrapunda Foundation’s Deadly Sister Girlz. It was an older group of students including some aspiring university students; we talked to them about our tertiary scholarships and the different pathways that those degrees could lead to.
We then met with the wonderful staff at Baldjamaar where we learned about each other’s organisations and shared thoughts about how we can share our opportunities with the community. Baldjamarr’s mission statement is to support local kids through their education journey. Their passion for their community and culture is evident and it was great to be welcomed in such a friendly manner, it was only right that we donate some items to the crisis care packages that they were distributing to kids in the region. Program Manager Lauren Wynne and the team will be sharing our scholarship opportunities particularly in Katanning, Tambellup and Gnowangerup where they operate.
We were lucky enough to catch Asha Bhat, CEO of Southern Aboriginal Corporation before leaving Albany. It was great to discuss all the corporation offers the community and how we can assist in offering scholarships to families in this area. We discussed the lack of scholarship opportunities available for students in the Great Southern and how important it is that they are afforded a full wrap around support structure should they choose to leave country to study away from home. Asha kindly offered to share our scholarship opportunities with her contacts. We also added some warm MADALAH hoodies to the care packages for vulnerable Noongar community members that the Corporation are supporting throughout these uncertain times.
After leaving Albany we headed to Mount Barker Community College to share scholarship opportunities with students there.
After Mount Barker we headed to Denmark Senior High School where we met up with a parent of one of our current secondary students and to share information about scholarship opportunities.
Having arrived in Bunbury late Wednesday nigh we were up and away to check into one of our partner schools Bunbury Cathedral Grammar first thing Thursday for a tour guided by our current students, have a yarn and to join in their Reconciliation art piece. It was great to check in and get an insight into their individual experiences during the recent, uncertain times and to see them all back at school. We could not think of a better way to cap off a wonderful trip than to spend some quality time with our MADALAH Family.
Our final meeting of the trip was with Principal’s and Aboriginal Liaison Officer at our two new partner school Bunbury Catholic College & Our Lady of Mercy in Australind. We talked about the new partnerships and took a tour of their fantastic school grounds.
The future is bright and we are looking forward to working with both schools to offer life-changing opportunities to Indigenous students in the South West region; scholarships will be on offer to students starting at both schools in 2021.
After Travelling 1,030km over 3 days we headed back to Perth!