Mutitjulu Community Outreach Experience
On the morning of 8 September, a group of 10 John XXIII residents flew to Alice Springs to begin their Mutitjulu adventure.
After spending one night in Alice Springs, they drove five hours west to a small Aboriginal community called Mutitjulu which is located 1 kilometer from the base of Uluru.
Mutitjulu is a community of nearly 200 Anangu people living in the Kata Tjuta National Park. It is a closed community so tourists are not allowed to enter without a permit from the Central Land Council.
They met some amazing people and were lucky to have the opportunity to spend time with them and learn from their stories. One of the most impressive people they met was Billy Cooley, an Aboriginal artist who has artwork on display in the National Gallery, Canberra. One day Billy demonstrated how to collect Mulga wood for the Mutitjulu artists and firewood for the community. It was another great way to learn and lend a hand in the community.
Another rewarding experience was working at the Mutitjulu childcare centre. Both boys and girls had an opportunity to help by entertaining the kids while the workers took a break.
Our travelers stayed at Nyangatjatjara College where many children from Mutitjulu and surrounding areas attend between the ages of 10-15. They spent time in their classrooms and also engaged in a lot of sport. Sport is important to the College curriculum, as it is the main school attraction which ensures high attendance.
This was the first time a group of Johns residents have visited Mutitjulu, and it was imperative that they establish good relations with key members of the community. Without their support and blessing, Johns would not be in a position to affect any real change or to help the community in the way we had envisioned.
Collecting Mulga wood with Billy and Ernst, and clearing rubbish from beside the childcare centre, were hugely significant to our Residents’ overall experience and to the community as a whole.
The lessons learned by our 10 Outreach ambassadors has enriched their understanding of Australian indigenous relations and will enriched the culture, community and spirit of all Johns Residents for years to come.
This was a very exciting trip which involved supporting local school and communities. Come back soon for a more in-depth details and photos!
Travelling to the Solomon Islands and working there with various communities was an unforgettable experience. The project is incredibly valuable, enabling participants to assist in creating a difference in the lives of our neighbouring communities who have extremely limited access to basic resources.
The Project’s outcomes have made a significant impact on the capacity of communities to be both economically and environmentally sustainable by investing in education and health infrastructure. One of the most significant challenges this project faced was deciding which projects to fund and which to refuse. While the project managed to find a balance between communities and types of projects, one of the highest priorities for the future should be to build the capacity of this project to fund more projects in the communities we visited.
Given the scale of disadvantage and overall need in communities in the Solomon Islands we also recommend that future projects diversify the groups they are working with to ensure that the most basic infrastructure needs (especially water tanks and school classrooms) are provided before other needs which may be less essential or immediate.
The six participants this year believe that the Solomon Islands Project is an extremely worthwhile and valuable scheme that demands highly motivated individuals to work together as a team with the ultimate goal of creating access to basic resources and increasing the quality of life of impoverished communities.
- Auki – Alota’a School
- Dala South – Catholic Community Primary School
- Dala North – Anglican Community Primary School
- Bubuitolo – Catholic Community Clinic Project
- Buma – Anglican Community Primary School Project
- Savo Island – Le Bone, Sisiaka, Tchapanyata, Kalgele, Koela & Susepi
For further information on the Domestic & International Aid Project, please contact our Deputy Head of College on 02 6125 6900 today!