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.
The Tjindu Foundation was established amid the COVID-19 pandemic and we have not been isolated from the impacts of the summer outbreak on the eve of the new school year.
However we’ve had an exciting start to the year and continue to enjoy some important successes 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.
Here’s a little bit about the goals we’ve kicked so far in 2022.
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 75 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 program 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’s 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 very important, especially those with aspirations to play footy at the highest level.
Unfortunately, the delivery of our Tjindu Strong program for primary/middle school aged kids in remote communities has been hampered 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 Lands in partnership with the Adelaide Crows Foundation, Department for Education and PYEC (the Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Education Committee).
The Tjindu team is next scheduled to attend the APY Lands on May 22, where we will help deliver our Tjindu STRONG program in community classrooms and support the launch of the first ever Anangu Junior Football League. As well as playing footy, this competition is intended to help encourage school attendance within these remote communities.
Get your Vili’s donuts this Reconciliation Week and NAIDOC Week
A huge thanks to SA’s iconic baker Vili’s which is supporting the Tjindu Foundation this Reconciliation Week (27 May – 3 June) and NAIDOC Week (3-10 July) by donating 25% of Aboriginal Flag themed donuts sold to our programs.
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.
Cultural Awareness Workshops and RAP building
We have already delivered 25 Cultural Awareness Workshops to over 750 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 contemporary and cultural 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 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 very important, and it’s been great to help these organisations build better RAPs and help implement settings to create culturally supportive environments.