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Embracing change

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Three images in a row, from left to right. Elizabeth – an Aboriginal woman sitting behind a cash register in a store. Kevin – Aboriginal man in a room with a mop and bucket. Joel – Aboriginal man working on a car.
Community members Elizabeth Galangarr, Kevin Ganiningba and Joel Joe at their place of work.
28 Jun 2017

Embracing change in work and life is essential to growing as an individual and becoming a better person. Change sometimes does not come easy, but it is achievable.

Elizabeth, Kevin and Joel live in the small community of Yurrwi (formerly known as Milingimbi), part of the Crocodile Island Group in the Arafura Sea. Located about half a kilometre off the north coast of Central Arnhem Land, and roughly 440 km east of Darwin and 200 km west of Nhulunbuy.

Like other community members, they participate in activities that help make positive changes in their lives. These activities include the establishment of Manapan Furniture, which creates furniture for local and interstate clients. They also helped build a memorial around the remains of three bombed planes.

Elizabeth, Kevin and Joel share their personal stories of change.

Elizabeth Galangarr joined the Community Development Programme (CDP) to feel better about herself and be a role model for her two daughters and the community. It helped her develop skills in cash handling, customer service, time management and housekeeping,

“CDP has helped me to get the djama (job) at the ALPA store. It feels Manymak (good). I hope my daughters will grow up to have djama like me,” Elizabeth said.

For Kevin Ganiningba, being a role model to his four children and two grandchildren is important to him and his wife.

“The CDP let me show my grandkids that learning new things is good. Having a job is good. You learn work rules. It gives you routine, like being on time and respecting each other,” Kevin said.

“My wife and I also want to help our community. I’ve helped build bus shelters, a stage for the festival and even played Santa Clause at the CDP Christmas carols concert.”

Joel Joe wanted help to find a job so he could make a better life for himself and his family. 

“I was in a rut and wanted a change, but was not sure what to do. Participating in the CDP helped me start a mechanical apprenticeship. I was unsure at first, but they explained more about the job and helped me to apply,” Joel said.

“Having a job feels good. I’m happier and I’ve been able to share my skills with others. I’ve been able to use my skills to build a bus shelter, a shed for the local school and a concrete slab for a commercial kitchen. I am more confident, happier and healthier.”

Joel is thankful for the assistance and encouragement he was given under the program. But this has not stopped since he got the job. The local provider continues its support and guidance for not only Joel, but others in his situation.

Find out more

The Australian Government’s Community Development Programme (CDP) is creating opportunities for job seekers in remote Australia and strengthening remote economies.

To find out about CDP activities in your area, contact your local Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet Regional Network office.

CDP provider ALPA - Arnhem Land Progress Aboriginal Corporation  is the largest Aboriginal Corporation in Australia and operates in 27 remote locations across the Northern Territory and Queensland.

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