We’re very excited to announce that after months of fundraising and organisation, we will be celebrating the opening of the secondary classroom at the Watarrka Primary School on the 9th of March. This classroom will provide a vital opportunity for the local children to continue their schooling on country, living with their families up until year 10.
Paul Jensen, Chairman of the Watarrka Foundation stated:
"The right to access an education in your home environment is an accepted basic human right, and we are proud to have contributed towards providing this to the families in Watarrka."
Currently the Watarrka Primary School only has the capacity to teach children up till year 6, meaning that either their education finishes there, or they need to move away from their family to boarding school in Alice Springs to continue their secondary education.
The second classroom consists of a large open plan classroom, a computer room and an office for the teaching staff.
The classroom opening comes at a key time where the Australian Government has pledged to continue supporting higher education for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, according to their recent Close The Gap report. The Remote School Attendance Strategy (RSAS) referenced in this report will see the Australian Government putting a focus on engagement within local communities with the aim of increasing and maintaining school attendance amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.
At the Watarrka Foundation, we’re glad to see the momentum continuing from small communities all the way to the Federal Government to push for equal education opportunities regardless of location or culture.
The opening ceremony will be held on the 9th of March 2019, with members of the Watarrka Foundation and key donors traveling to the remote community to share in the excitement. The opening will begin with a traditional smoke ceremony performed by Aboriginal Elders of the Watarrka community.
Christine Munro, a teacher at the Watarrka school, provided on-site support to the project, and stated:
“It was quite a challenge to teach up to 25 students of all ages in one small classroom. We can now separate the students into age groups and give them each more focused attention which is helping them to learn faster. The kids love the space and volunteered an entire Saturday to help shift, carry and organise our learning
materials. Just knowing the world out there cares about their education is making a difference."
We have many more upcoming projects throughout 2019 to fulfil our overall vision of creating opportunities for education, as well as other services to assist the Watarrka community in becoming fully independent. Such projects include a nutritional education program, the implementation of fruit and vegetables gardens within the school, and improved access to medical facilities.
It’s not too late to donate towards the second classroom, as we’re still seeking funds to cover off the final stages of the project. To make a donation, head to our donation page here