Children’s Ground is an organisation led by First Nations communities, underpinned by a mission to create a new future for children filled with promise, hope and empowerment. With a particular focus on Central Australia and Australia’s Top End (NT), this charity works with children, families and communities that face the greatest exclusion and live with injustice and disadvantage every single day.
As the official charity partner of the inaugural Design Files (TDF) Kids Art Awards presented by Honan, we were first introduced to Children’s Ground in 2021. We were thrilled to pass on 100% of all competition entry fees (more than $7,500) donated to this leading organisation. In 2022, we set an elevated fundraising goal of $10,000 - entrants paid a $5 entry fee to submit their artwork and had the option to donate more by inputting an ‘over and above’ discretionary amount.
We sat down with Children’s Ground to learn more about the indigenous-led charity’s vision and journey to date.
1. Please tell us a little about Children’s Ground - when were you first established, and why?
Children’s Ground was founded in 2013 after decades of working in poorly funded organisations, where First Nations people were being treated as the problem. First Nations people are not the problem, the system is the problem.
Put simply, Children’s Ground was set up to give people agency over their own lives. Children’s Ground is a fully integrated system that combines First Nations knowledge with global best practices. We combine education with health and wellbeing promotion, community development, and employment and enterprise opportunities for families.
Culture underpins everything we do at Children’s Ground. We prioritise First Language and teaching on country – where families and kids can thrive.
2. Tell us about Children’s Ground's vision, and key goals for 2022 in particular?
Our vision is for all children and families to live with dignity and justice, free from economic poverty. We want First Nations people to achieve their aspirations and for their children to enjoy a life of opportunity.
We hope that soon, all Australians will know the true history of this country and celebrate First Nations culture. It is the oldest living culture in the world – and it is living right here, that is something all Australians should be proud of.
A key focus this year is the establishment of our primary years program on the homelands of the Mpweringke Anapipe region in Central Australia. Establishing a school here has been a vision passed down for many generations, and we are working to make this a reality in 2022.
Last year, we started working toward this with the employment of a dedicated Western-trained primary educator. Research has shown that children learn best in their First Language. This is why it is so important for our kids to have a school where they can learn in their own language.
3. As a charity organisation, ongoing fundraising is obviously key to your work. What would a donation in the vicinity of this year’s Kids Art Awards target - $10,000 - mean for your projects and the communities you’re supporting?
For us, the project is about so much more than a $10,000 contribution. We are so grateful to be involved and to reach a vast new audience of parents, teachers, and the next generation of leaders and decision-makers.
Our journey is long, and we are only just starting. The success of this journey hinges on advocacy, and those who support our vision spreading our message.
At Children’s Ground, we operate through a collective investment funding model. This combines philanthropy, government, corporate, community, and the public together to have an impact at scale and over the long term. This approach enables innovation and flexibility in our projects, as we are never reliant on one single source of income.
A contribution of $10,000 will fall into this larger investment, allowing us to continue delivering excellence across all platforms.
4. When it comes to progressing, evolving, and improving the future prospects of First Nations children, what’s one thing you’d like all Australian businesses &/or citizens to know or do?
All children are brilliant, regardless of circumstance. We are creating a system that sets kids up for success in all realms of life, not failure.
Too many organisations aren’t focused on the systems causing the problems, it is like parking an ambulance at the bottom of the cliff – and hoping to make a difference.
Children’s Ground is about preventing and breaking a cycle of disadvantage, so this next generation of kids can realise their brilliance.
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