Souths Cares’ Liverpool Opportunity Hub team participated in a huge NAIDOC week which included eight events within the space of five days.
NAIDOC Week provides an opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, with this year’s theme being ‘Always Was, Always Will Be’ which recognised Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People have occupied and cared for this continent for over 65,000 years.
Despite the challenging circumstances surrounding COVID-19, Souths Cares Liverpool Opportunity Hub team were able to immerse themselves in a variety of cultural, educational and sporting activities during the week.
On Tuesday, six Indigenous students from the Liverpool Opportunity Hub program attended Souths Cares annual NAIDOC celebrations which included a luncheon, dance performances, musical performances and Q&As with the Rabbitohs squad.
Year 12 student, Natalie Trovato from Lurnea High School took part in a student interview panel along with other participants from Souths Cares programs to discuss a range of topics including the impact of Souths Cares mentoring, their education and employment aspirations and the meaning of NAIDOC Week.
Natalie said participating in the Liverpool Opportunity Hub had a significant impact on her school attendance, career aspirations and increasing her understanding about Aboriginal culture.
On Wednesday, students from Sadleir Public School were supported by the Souths Cares team in a bush tucker demonstration which included cooking a Kangaroo Stew for their school community. Students from Cecil Hills High School completed a special Aboriginal artwork as part of NAIDOC celebrations which will be presented to the school and utilized during school assemblies and events.
On Thursday, students from Lawrence Hargrave School watched a cultural documentary about designing and assembling a traditional canoe which was constructed by past students of the school. The finished product is proudly displayed in the Australian Museum in Sydney.
The school community at Lurnea High School were highly intrigued by the cultural talks delivered by two local Aboriginal Elders who bought in various Aboriginal artifacts including a coolamon, boomerangs, kangaroo skins and a blue tongue lizard.
On Friday, the team participated in NAIDOC celebrations at Patrician Brothers Fairfield which included creating fire the traditional way, throwing Boomerangs, playing traditional Indigenous games, getting painted up with ochre and discussing traditional laws and behaviours.
At All Saints College, NAIDOC celebrations included a workshop which demonstrated traditional basket weaving techniques to students.
The week was capped off with an online physical activity session hosted by Rhys Wesser, Career and Education Pathways Advisor for the Liverpool Opportunity Hub. The session was streamed across Liverpool Council’s digital channels and played on the Urban Screen in Macquarie Mall, Liverpool.
Rhys Wesser said NAIDOC week provided the perfect opportunity to share culture with young people.
“It’s been privilege to be able to share our culture with the students in our programs, especially during NAIDOC Week," said Mr Wesser.
"I believe it’s really important that all of our students identify with and connect to their culture.”