$50 can teach 10 kids to read and write

Posted on August 1st, 2012

This is ashamedly a very long overdue post. I’ve been an ambassador to the Australian Literacy and Numeracy Foundation’s Wall of Hands program for two years. I’ve posed for the photos, I’ve said I’d be all hands on deck (so to speak; the campaign uses a raised hand as their motif) and I’ve failed to properly rally the troupes (that’s all you guys) to get involved and give a shit about this issue.

This issue being that way too many Aboriginal kids are missing out on a decent start. This is something you should know:

one in five children in remote Indigenous communities can’t read and write at the minimum standard

We can be all jingoistic about the Aussie ethos and our fair go heritage, blah, blah, blah….Or we can face the facts. These kind of statistics are disgraceful and reflect 100% on us. There. Said.

The ALNF, then, is working with Indigenous communities and schools around Australia to turn these statistics around. Their specialised programs are making a real difference and transforming lives in places few of us have ever visited: Tennant Creek, Mungkarta, Elliott and Ali-Curung.. For example – the ALNF recently  launched it’s Community Action Support (CAS) program for the first time in the community of Elliott.

You can read more stories here.

We can talk and read about this. Or we can do something. I’ll make it easy for you. You have two options as you read this.

1. you can sponsor my wall. A few clicks, this is all. Clicks count.

2. if you can afford it right now, you can give a one-off donation of as little as $5. This will help provide basic learning materials for an Indigenous child in a remote community.

3. if you’re interested in doing more: $30 can provide extra learning support to Indigenous preschoolers. $80 can provide a child with a Literacy Pack filled with books and reading resources. $120 can train an Indigenous high school mentor to provide reading and writing support to Indigenous primary school children. $520 can help provide teaching to a child in a remote community such as Mungkarta for six months.

 I don’t like pushing things on everyone. But this one is important. Hope you don’t mind…



Related Posts with Thumbnails
  • Such an important cause to support. Thanks for letting us know how we can chip in.


  • Jason

    Well done. It’s amazing how one person can sometimes be more effective than half of Canberra.


  • Rose

    Yes very important Sarah. My hubby n I purchase education packs thru world vision at Chrissy time.


  • Elly

    This is such an important issue, Sarah, thanks for raising awareness! I run a Social Justice group at the high school I teach at, and the students have decided to focus on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education this semester. We are going to be raising awareness around the school and raising money for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander literacy and numeracy programs. I teach at a school that does not have a significant Aboriginal community, so I’m really proud of my students for choosing this issue to focus on and get behind.


    Michelle Reply:

    Elly that is awesome. Is the social justice program compulsory or optional? It sounds really interesting.


    Elly Reply:

    It is completely optional! We started it about 18 months ago after I took a group of girls to the International Women’s Day breakfast and they were inspired to make a difference after hearing some women speak about Afghanistan. We (the students and I) came up with the concept of the group on the way back to school, and since then the group have run campaigns for the homeless, East Africa, organised guest speakers about homophobia and are now focusing on Aboriginal issues – they are such wonderful kids and so inspiring!


  • Nicole

    Just donated!


  • Don’t mind at all, in fact I’m glad and will donate and spread the word.


  • This is such a worthy cause, Sarah! Literacy means the freedom to devour, learn, express and create – a vital combo for all growing brains methinks.


  • Sarah

    Hi There,
    I am a teacher in Tennant Creek at the primary school, and have taught here for the last 3 years and love it – it is rewarding and teaching ALL Australian children is my primary focus. Personally, I have not heard of this program before or seen the effects of this program since I have been here…is there anyone out there who can explain how this program helps teachers of Indigenous students as well as the students themselves? I did see some pencil packs being handed around, but so far that is about it. I believe we can all make a difference to the gap in literacy outcomes – but it needs to be from the community, into the home and then into the school.
    This is a wonderful cause, but still needs to be visible within the community – Tennant Creek especially.


    Sarah Wilson

    Sarah Wilson Reply:

    Hi Sarah, I’m going to pass on your comments to the team…and see what they have to say…


    Eric Brace & Deepika Mistry Reply:

    Hi Sarah,

    We note your comments and wanted to take this space to respond to your request for information and to draw some connections for you.

    The Australian Literacy and Numeracy Foundation, in conjunction with the University of Western Sydney, (UWS) is responsible for the Community Action Support (CAS) program which operates at the Primary School and High School in Tennant Creek (as well as other remote schools). The ALNF has also been involved in a partnership with the Papulu Apparr-Kari Language Centre since 2005. However, the CAS program commenced in 2009 and has involved a range of activities including the placement of UWS teaching students such as Deepika, Ros, and Camelia at Tennant Creek Primary School as well as Kellie (at the primary school in Mungkarta) and others in the region. You may have seen some of this year’s student teachers at your school during our last visit in June. This year’s group includes Vatha, Leila and Clare who will return to Tennant Creek in October.

    A significant amount of activities of the program involves students at the High School in Tennant Creek. As you may know, Jackie, who ran projects as part of the CAS program at the High School in 2010, is now a full-time teacher at Tennant Creek High School.

    In addition to the above, the ALNF has facilitated the “cross-generational” initiative in the second half of the year in which a group of high school students (“the mentors”) learn the skills to write picture books, conduct shared reading and literacy lessons with a class at the primary school (such as the Eagles class). We are collaborating with Julie-Anne for this year’s program. Staff at the Language Centre and elders, such as Mrs Nixon and Aunt Bunny, help the high school students with literacy content in Warumungu, Warlmanpa and Alyawarr. I know that Richelle – a past mentor, who has recently finished high school – really valued her role in this program.

    Last year, the ALNF conducted workshops with Kristi at bush schools in the broader Barkly. This work will culminate in the publication of an anthology of writing collected from Elliott, Alekerange, and Murray Downs. Copies of that anthology should be available in October for teaching and learning purposes.

    We hope the above draws some connections. That said, there are always improvements that can be made and more that can be done.

    We admire the dedication of teachers – like yourself – in the region and enjoy having the opportunity to support the placements, the associated projects and the ideas of teachers and community members alike. We will continue to speak with Jack – the principal – and participating teachers. We always value the feedback received from elders at the Language Center and from others with whom we work closely.

    I believe we may have met on a few occasions. I hope you are well. I have omitted surnames for many reasons. Do not hesitate to email me (eric.brace@alnf.org) or Deepika (deepika.mistry@alnf.org) with any further questions. I am more than happy to respond.

    Kind regards,

    Eric Brace, ALNF and Deepika Mistry, ALNF


  • Gail

    Hi Sarah,
    I commend your involvement and support of this organisation. I’m just unsure about why the Australian government is not making sure that everyone in this country receives the education that is due to them. Is it not every citizen’s right? Could someone please shed more light on this for me? Thanks


  • simon


    I don’t see how these statistics reflect on me at all.BILLIONS of dollars of tax payers money is spent on aboriginal welfare every year.Is it somehow the average persons fault that the programs are not working?

    I would’ve thought that the parents of these children would be the logical place to look when it comes to apportioning blame.Or perhaps the leaders of the towns/missions where these children live?

    I’m sure you mean well but guilt tripping people for situations far beyond their control is not the way to go.


    michael Reply:

    I don’t see any guilt tripping here Simon.
    I am guessing that you are a well meaning person so I am wondering how apportioning blame on the parents of these children would actually help matters.
    I don’t think it would. Just sounds like more of the same old merry go round we’ve been on for the last two hundred years.
    I am not sure about the credentials of this particular organisation but their initiatives sound constructive and informed.
    Am definitely on Ms Wilson’s team re : this part of my and my Australia’s soul that needs tending to .. and am thankful that she is shining her considerable light in this direction.