Last week, 5 boys from the community of Wadeye in remote Northern Territory spent some time on the snow at Hotham. Wadeye is the largest remote Indigenous community in Australia and the boys are a part of the Thathangathay Foundation, which was set up to provide a pathway for young men from the community to ‘walk in two worlds’ and find opportunities to move away from welfare dependency.
One of the foundation’s values is that with choice comes responsibility and opportunity. The boys selected to come on the trip – Donatus Narndu (13), Paul Kintharri (14), Scott Kintharri (15), Chris Ngulkur (17) and Gabriel Dumoo (20) were chosen from the young men who have demonstrated a commitment to education and to bettering themselves, including a life without drugs and alcohol.
The foundation has boys attending Bright P-12 College and some boys are undertaking a life skills program with cultural support and training at home in Wadeye. Boys that complete two years are provided with support in developing their own business or career pathway. To date, the foundation has a beekeeper, an AFL shop, a second-hand DVD business and also a full-time Indigenous Coordinator in Wadeye.
The boys have never been to the snow before and describe it as ‘The Big Ice’ to people at home as it is so foreign to their lives. With support from Hotham’s dedicated ski instructors, the boys soon pick up the skills and are able to embrace skiing very quickly. The foundation has had boys skiing for 3 years now and last year a few were even skiing as part of the Bright P-12 College Race Program!
Going to the snow and learning to ski is providing the boys with the opportunities and experiences that would not normally be available to them. The boys not only learn about the alpine environment but also get the enjoyment and skill to do something that they can access should they choose to do so.
Image: Boys on their snow trip with group leader Justin Crawley.
13 August 2012