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IDENTIFY

Goodooga and Brewarrina are situated in North-Western NSW. The region has suffered years of drought, followed by massive flooding. As a result, the community faces challenges in offering opportunities for its children and youth. CCA now partners with Goodooga Central School and Brewarrina Central School connecting them with sister schools in Sydney. The program commence by bringing a group of volunteers who undertook renovations and repairs at Goodooga Central School. The program has grown now with four schools involved with reciprocal visits each year.

SOURCE

Connecting Communities Australia worked with the local Aboriginal elders, Lavinia Williams (now on the CCA Board) a Yuwaalaraay woman, Goodooga Central staff and International Grammar School staff on the program. IGS strongly focuses on indigenous studies and reconciliation with teachers who contributed knowledge, vision, and dedication to the planning process. In Sydney the Goodooga students are accommodated at the Central Youth Hostel and the IGS students stay at the Goodooga Central School.

DELIVER

The students engaged in the activities with open minds and respect and demonstrated a deep interest in understanding their fellow students’ different experiences. In 2022, IGS students travelled to Goodooga and partook in the Zoo Snooze program (staying overnight at Western Plains Zoo), immersion at Goodooga Central School. IGS children attend lessons with the Goodooga students, visit the Brewarrina Fish Traps, visit Aboriginal Museum, swim at the Artesian Hot Springs, activities at the school (painting, gardening, games), elders circle and smoking ceremony and plant a Cultural Garden at the school. After two postponements due to Covid, students from Goodooga travel to Sydney in May 2023 for a week’s program with IGS and Barrenjoey High School, culminating with the inaugural SWT Indigenous Games.

MEASURE

The impact of these social and cultural connections is significant and offers an opportunity for reconciliation between cultures and communities. The program promotes understanding and an opportunity for the children’s families, teachers and other community members to connect. With connection and understanding anything is possible.
Students, teachers and parents from both schools expressed how wonderful it was to experience the cultural knowledge from the Kamilaroi nation. It was a great sharing of wisdom, experiencing indigenous food, learning words in the Kamilaroi language and weaving baskets and bracelets.
The program has now expanded with regular visits to Brewarrina and Goodooga from Sydney schools and reciprocal visits to Sydney for the students in Brewarrina and Goodooga.