One of the most important aspects of the Watarrka Foundation’s work within remote NT communities is to encourage and improve the overall health of the community. Since the Foundation’s involvement in the Watarrka and Lilla region, we have implemented a range of projects that aim to improve attitudes towards a healthy and happy lifestyle. 

Improving health through sport

In 2017, the Watarrka Foundation organised and assembled 20 FAT bikes that were sent via shipping container to the children of Watarrka Primary School. These bikes are now used as an incentive and reward for consistent school attendance. 

Reg Ramsden, Watarrka Foundation Director said:

“The kids love the FAT bikes. It gives them something to look forward to at school, and a way for them to get excited about being outside and exercising. You can also see these bikes having a great impact on the children's health, as they are getting better at running, riding and developing stronger muscles.”

By encouraging the children to use FAT bikes, the Foundation and Watarrka Primary School aim to make improving health through sports fun. 

Another way the Foundation has encouraged improved health through sports is during the annual Sports & Storytelling Festival. During the festival, AFL NT representatives as well as volunteers organise and teach a range of different sporting games that the kids can then continue play with their class group once the festival is finished. 

Improving health through lifestyle

Living in remote areas presents large challenges in terms of access to everyday items like fresh fruit and vegetables. Within the Watarrka region, the closest food store is a small convenience store located at Kings Canyon Resort, stocking items similar to what you’d find in a petrol station. Unfortunately for the locals, this means they only have access to things like take away soft drinks, and food items like instant noodles and meat pies. 

In response to these challenges, the Watarrka Foundation along with the staff from the Watarrka Primary School have planted fruit trees and vegetable patches in the school grounds to help teach the children how to grow their own healthy goods. By starting this initiative, the children are able to get involved in all aspects of planting, gardening, maintaining and eventually harvesting fresh fruit and vegetables from the school grounds. School staff at the Watarrka Primary School are encouraging students to take these learnings back home with them, and grow their own fresh produce with their families. 

During the annual Sports & Storytelling festival, the Watarrka Foundation along with volunteers cook the children a range of healthy meals using fresh ingredients. This gives the community exposure to healthy but tasty options that they could make themselves to keep up an ongoing healthy diet. 

Paul Jensen, Chairman of the Watarrka Foundation stated:

“The annual Sports & Storytelling festival gives the local children a great opportunity to learn about healthy habits that they can implement in their everyday lives. Activities like growing fresh food from their own vegetable garden and playing group sports makes these healthy habits fun.”


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