Building on community strengths in Australia

Rachel Kerry and Anne Jenkins

Two Australian organisations are exploring more effective ways of funding Indigenous communities by drawing on the strengths of those communities

Respectful relationships and self-determination are fundamental to working meaningfully with Indigenous communities, but not all funders understand how to embrace this. The result is a missed opportunity both to realise the potential in communities and to address the consequences of colonisation.

On-country visit to Winda Mara Aboriginal Corporation.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia remain strong and resilient despite the devastating impact of over 200 years of colonisation. This has resulted in dislocation, dispossession, discrimination, inter-generational trauma and the catastrophic undermining of the social cohesion of Aboriginal families during the Australian government’s assimilation policy between 1910 and 1970, which resulted in the removal of a third of Indigenous children from their parents. Mainstream welfare, health and education systems in Australia have continued to fail Indigenous communities, with Indigenous children massively over-represented in foster care and juvenile detention. Furthermore, Indigenous Australians can expect to live ten years less than their non-Indigenous counterparts.

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