From the General Manager

Kellie Graves, Tjindu Foundation General Manager

The work of the Tjindu Foundation continues to go from strength to strength in 2022 as we expand participation in our programs and welcome new staff, partners, and supporters on board.

As our supporters know, the Tjindu Foundation was established amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and we have not been isolated from the impacts of outbreak over summer that delayed the return to school.

However, we have achieved exciting milestones as we rapidly approach the midpoint of 2022.

The part that I love most about working with our great team at the Tjindu Foundation is the opportunity to get to know and work to support the young people who participate in our programs.

It is a truly rewarding experience and one that I know our parents and caregivers, teachers, partners, and supporters will agree is at the heart of the important journey Tjindu is on.

This is exemplified by the appointment of Tyran Hill, a former Aboriginal AFL Academy captain, who has joined us in 2022 as our Assistant Project Officer.

As well as helping deliver our programs, Tyran is the assistant coach for our Aboriginal AFL Academy.

We want to keep our past Academy participants in the Tjindu community, so if you are (or know) a former student who is interested in paid work or mentorship roles, please reach out to me by email at or follow our social media pages on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

Here is a little bit about the goals we’ve kicked so far in 2022…

A Tjindu Aboriginal AFL Academy player celebrates a goal

Aboriginal AFL Academy

The Tjindu Foundation is now the sole operator of the Aboriginal AFL Academy program and since taking ownership of this crucial initiative with the support of the South Australian Department for Education, and our major partners the RAA, it now enjoys near record participation.

We currently have 70 male and female participants in this program, which includes education components delivered by the Department and elite football training delivered by the Tjindu football program.

You may have also heard of our 2022 academy coach.

He’s won a few AFL premierships and is the first Aboriginal player to win the Brownlow Medal – of course, it can only be Gavin Wanganeen.

It has been fantastic having a successful role model such as Gav leading our football program this year, and the guidance he can provide to our players is especially important for those with aspirations to play footy at the highest level.

Tjindu STRONG on the APY Lands


Unfortunately, the delivery of our Tjindu Strong program for primary and middle school kids in remote communities was delayed by the outbreak of COVID-19 at the beginning of the year.

But as we now push into the midpoint of the year, we have recommenced our engagement with communities in the APY and Maralinga Lands.

The Tjindu team returned to the APY Lands in May, where we helped deliver the Tjindu STRONG program in community classrooms and supported the launch of the first ever Anangu Junior Football League. As well as playing footy, this competition encourages school attendance within these remote communities.

We have also forged new partnerships working together with the South Australian Department for Education, Adelaide Crows Foundation and PYEC (the Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Education Committee).

We look forward to visiting the Maralinga communities to deliver Tjindu STRONG in July.

Get your Vili’s donuts and support the Tjindu Foundation

A huge thanks to SA’s iconic baker Vili’s which has supported the Tjindu Foundation these past weeks by contributing a percentage of their special Aboriginal Flag themed donut sales to our work.

It was great to see many community groups using the donuts as a fundraiser during Reconciliation Week, and the initiative will take place again during NAIDOC Week (3-10 July). Orders can be placed for your school, workplace or community group by contacting Jason Cullen at or on 0418 894 808.

This is an excellent initiative that helps Tjindu reach even more South Australians in partnership with one of the state’s favourite brands – thanks to the entire Vili’s team for their support.

Reconciliation Action Plan

Cultural Awareness Workshops and RAP building

We have already delivered dozens of Cultural Awareness Workshops to over one thousand people in businesses across South Australia in 2022.

Feedback on these sessions has been incredibly positive and our team continues to tailor our workshops to meet the needs of South Australian organisations seeking to increase their awareness of Aboriginal language groups, their histories and the importance of respect and reconciliation for a positive, constructive, and equal future for everyone who lives on this continent.

I have also been privileged to bring Tjindu onto a number of Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) working groups for some of the state’s highest-profile organisations, including RAA, Surf Lifesaving SA, Foodbank SA, Beyond Bank, St Michael’s College and SACA.

Reconciliation Action Plans are an important mechanism to guide organisations towards cultural and racial equality and to assist leaders and staff in acknowledging and respecting the cultural needs of Aboriginal people in their workplaces.

Building cultural awareness and competency within corporate settings is especially important, and it has been great to help these organisations build better RAPs and help implement settings to create culturally supportive environments.

End of Financial Year Appeal

As a registered not-for-profit, the Tjindu Foundation relies on support to keep achieving outcomes for Aboriginal young people in South Australia.

Since our establishment at the beginning of 2021, our pillar programs have gone on to have big impacts in the lives of participants.

A small donation can make a big contribution: Whether covering the cost of a uniform for one of our Academy players, to helping get our team out to the APY and Maralinga Lands, to appointing the staff that deliver our programs right across the state.

You can make a tax-deductible donation to the Tjindu Foundation here.

Thank you for your support of the Tjindu Foundation so far in 2022, and we look forward to updating you on more of our students’ achievements throughout the rest of the year.


Share this post

Skip to content