Spreading the joy of reading in Indigenous communities

book title

The Indigenous origins of a Melbourne suburb name and drawings of much love pets have been captured as part of a special fundraising project to mark Indigenous Literacy Day.

A digital book has been created by staff from the Department of Human Services along with their families and friends to raise money for the Indigenous Literacy Foundation.

Department staff have already raised more than $50,000 this year for the foundation through their national charity calendar.

The Indigenous Literacy Foundation gives children’s books to remote Indigenous communities around Australia.

Executive Director Karen Williams said they also help communities write their own stories and support a structured story time program in playgroups.

“The fundraising is vital for us to continue the important work we do,” Karen said.

“It’s about getting kids engaged and spreading the joy of reading.

“Early literacy is the key. We provide books where there are none, written both in English and local languages.

“It allows kids to start to learn to read in language, so when they go to school they’re set up for success. 

“We also source books written by Indigenous authors on topics children can relate to,” Karen said.

Brisbane staff member Dale Jackson came up with the idea of a digital book to encourage people to write, draw and be creative. Staff members were able to buy a page for $10 and let their imaginations run wild. 

Students in Year One at Murrumbeena Primary School jumped at the chance to be involved. Their artwork was inspired by the Aboriginal word from which their suburb was named—‘mirambeena’, the land of frogs.

“I’m passionate about promoting the work the foundation does to encourage a love of reading by supplying books to children in remote Indigenous communities,” Dale said.

“The book has been a great opportunity to have fun and raise money and awareness about this important work.”

The foundation has distributed around 350,000 books in communities around Australia since it was established. 

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More information

  • Find out more about the work of the Indigenous Literacy Foundation here.