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Talent Marjorie Wheeler
There are so many great things happening to Close the Gap in Hermannsburg community that Newslines Radio is presenting a three-part special feature this month.
In this program, community members talk about some of the successful programs and services being delivered under the Stronger Futures in the Northern Territory initiative.
Marjorie Wheeler talks about the role of child care and the women’s safe house, Megan Emitja tells us why sport is so important to youth, while Cassandra Stuart talks about the many outstations that rely on Hermannsburg’s growing services.
“We’ve got a lot of new services happening,” Marjorie Wheeler said.
“It’s good to change, to keep our community strong.”
PRESENTER: Hi, I’m Nathan Ramsay and you’re listening to Newslines Radio, an Australian Government program on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander issues.
Last month we heard from people in Hermannsburg about the new houses that have been built in their community. But there are so many other great things happening to Close the Gap, that this month we’re bringing you a three-part special feature on Hermannsburg.
Known in the local Western Arrarnta language as Ntaria, the central desert community is located about 125 kilometres south-west of Alice Springs.
Through the Stronger Futures in the Northern Territory initiative, the Australian Government is funding a range of programs and services in Hermannsburg to help people build independent lives where community, family and children are safe and healthy.
Newslines caught up with community member Marjorie Wheeler to find out more about the successful programs she’s been involved in.
WHEELER: I live at Hermannsburg all my life. I got six grandchildren. I was working in the child care before. I was a supervisor, looking after the children. I work for two ways, for undernourished children and three years old children. I used to teach them for both ways, in English and language.
I love to work with the young children because I can pass on that knowledge to them. Sometimes we share knowledge with the elderlies. So we trying to help our future so they can carry on.
PRESENTER: Marjorie currently works at the local safe house, which is helping to improve community safety in Hermannsburg.
WHEELER: We’ve got a lot of new services happening. We’ve got a new safe house here. I also work at the safe house now. We’re helping all the clients, women and children, if they’re having family violence or they get really scared from a next door neighbour if they’re making noise or having a big party and elderlies can’t go to sleep, then they can come to the safe house. We’re always open 24 hours. It’s good to change, to keep our community strong.
PRESENTER: Creating better opportunities for young people in Hermannsburg is another big community priority, as youth worker Megan Emitja explains.
EMITJA: I’m from Hermannsburg community and I work for Youth Department and I do sports for the young people out here and also go bush trip, take them for bush tuckers and for swimming, hunting. Sometimes we go hunting with the old ladies. Cause it’s really important cause bush tucker is healthy food and make them stay strong.
PRESENTER: Megan says one of the most popular activities she helps organise is sport
EMITJA: Every afternoon we do softball, sports for them, play netball and tennis. And sometimes I help them, another youth worker, for Auskick and football. Sometimes we play basketball too.
PRESENTER: The Australian Government is funding a new recreation facility for the community, which will be used for sports and other events – something Megan says the youth are certainly looking forward to.
The increase in services to Hermannsburg is benefiting more than just the local residents. Community Housing officer Cassandra Stuart told Newslines there were about 30 outstations around Hermannsburg that rely on the community too.
STUART: For the ones that live within a 20 kilometre radius around Hermannsburg, they still occupy the outstations as their home. They manage to bring their kids in and out for school. That’s where I grew up, on an outstation. We used to drive in and out for school and mum and dad drove in and out for work, they still do today.
There’s just one thing after the other that’s getting done in this community. It’ll be like your little outback adventure town. We get a lot of visitors; a lot of tourists come here. Because it’s the distance, it’s an hour, hour and a half away from Alice Springs. It’s a bit of a central place for everything really. And that’s what I like. You’re never bored here.
PRESENTER: Through the Stronger Futures in the Northern Territory Initiative, the Australian Government is continuing to support Aboriginal people in Hermannsburg community.
To find out more, check out the links on our website, Indigenous.gov.au. You can also follow Closing the Gap on Twitter, and like Indigenous.gov.au on Facebook.
I’m Nathan Ramsay, thanks for listening to Newslines Radio.