Introducing: The Bawurra Foundation
Background of the Foundation:
Bawurra Foundation is a brand new not-for-profit organisation, which aims to improve the literacy levels in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in Australia. Meaning 'Red Kangaroo' in the Gamilaraay language, the emblem symbolises leadership and strength, and is an important icon of the Australian landscape, and to many indigenous nations.
Australia comprises of well over 200 indigenous nations, each with their own cultural practise, heritage, language and spiritual connection to Country. This culture and heritage is passed down aurally, from the elders to the younger generation.
However, in today's world of ever increasing interconnectivity and fast-paced globalisation, the effect on the preservation of these cultures is becoming increasingly under threat. However, from this, an opportunity has arisen.
Bawurra aims to educate the younger generations on the importance of the indigenous way of life, and the importance of spirituality. Through the creation of a digital library, they aim to document indigenous culture, practise and language, which, through a partnership with Amazon Kindle, provide Kindles to remote indigenous schools as a general education tool, but also to pass on traditional knowledge to younger people. Providing community-written books, short stories and illustrations in a digital format without the need for internet access is one of the many positives of the Kindle. This digital library allows the schools to access Indigenous stories and knowledge from around Australia.
Media (whether it be print, digital media, music and photography) has become an heavily important tool by which to preserve culture. Bawurra Kindles utilise a modern tool to save an ancient culture, with every Kindle they give away serving as a document to nations they help, and as an educational tool for indigenous students.
There are currently two remote indigenous communities (Boggabilla and Toomelah, both NSW) that Bawurra operates with, but there are plans to expand this year, and hopes are high we can help to close the gap between indigenous and non-indigenous peoples.
Goals of the Foundation:
To preserve Indigenous culture and build the Elders of tomorrow
1- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders share knowledge and culture.
2- Knowledge and culture published onto the digital library.
3- Kindles with access to the library are donated to schools.
So, where do I come into this?
While I was at university, much of my degree focused on development studies and cultural change. Also, while I lived at college, I knew many of the people who founded this project. A few weeks ago, while speaking with one of them, I made it clear that if there was any way I could help the foundation in its growth, I would leap on it.
Seeing something created by students for younger students was something that was inspiring, and with such a need for our country's heritage to be preserved, I felt that if I could use my skills as a writer and background in development studies in some way, that could help hugely and do a lot of good. And here I am.
I have begun helping in regards to public affairs and content for the Foundation, and can't wait to get stuck in. Writing, in all it's forms, has always been a tool for change.
If the Foundation can influence at least one indigenous person to be proud of their tradition and heritage, and use it as a tool for positive change in our country, then the Foundation has achieved it's goal.
To see much of the great work of the Bawurra Foundation, check out their website below (You can even donate if you like). And thanks for reading.