I recently visited several Indigenous communities in WA’s remote Fitzroy Valley and was impressed by a new network’s comprehensive understanding, sensitivity and sheer determination to create a better ‘now’ for First Australians.
With the ongoing stories of schools right around Australia being directed to spend taxpayers’ funds on unwanted facilities PLUS the intervention’s ‘one size fits all’ approach which has failed to recognise existing pockets of effort and energy, I believe we should be talking to grassroots communities about specific needs so – with expert guidance – funds can be directed where communities know they will do the most good, and we can start rebuilding self esteem as well as a sustainable future.
This foundation is a partnership between a network of lateral thinking Aboriginal people, some academics and some pro-bono professionals working in social education, sustainable housing and renewable energy.
Indigenous people will have input into housing designs, receive training in building, landscaping, maintenance, establishing community fruit and veggies gardens AND acting as a mentor for family members.
Science and technology can improve Indigenous health and quality of living.
FISH is inspired by the many possibilities for technological innovation in remote Australia.
Indigenous people are being included in the design of housing suited to the lifestyle of each community and fifteen young Aboriginals have already started training in building techniques while working on the construction of a wilderness centre near Derby.
At the local level, a colleague and I met and enjoyed the ‘let’s do something’ attitude of a go-ahead group of Kimberley women in the Junjuwa Community at Fitzroy Crossing.
Not content with the boredom and general lack of leisure/business activity in the area, a group of women – when not caring for their large families – scrubbed and painted a disused building, turning it into a Women’s Centre where they sew and paint.
There are thoughts of craft products and a fresh fruit and veggie community garden whose produce could be sold to locals, and to the 200,000 tourists who pass through FX annually.
A further imperative of FISH is the preservation of Indigenous culture – another point of interest for the tourist visiting FX.
We all decided a visit to Melbourne and to the snow at Mt Hotham would be a wonderful broadening experience for these go-ahead women – plus joining Face Book!
Please contact the Chairman of the FISH Board, Victor Hunter
Phone: 0438 901 022
Will Indigenous grandmothers lead the way in bringing change for a better black Australia?