Supporting Indigenous Australia

Support development in Indigenous communities


What we're doing

One-in-five Indigenous Australian children can't read at the minimum standard but World Vision’s projects provide more than 250 Indigenous children with early education to try to change that

Our goal

To empower Indigenous Australians to lead their own development

In the areas of education, health and justice, enormous gaps exist between Australian Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.

It’s hard to imagine why these disadvantages exist in a country as prosperous as Australia.

But when you take a look at our history, some of the reasons start to become clear. The right to vote for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples was either limited or altogether denied across Australia until legislative changes in the early sixties. Indigenous Australians weren’t even counted in the national census until 1967.

The forced removal of Indigenous Australians from their traditional lands continues to affect Indigenous Australian outcomes to this day. For Indigenous Australians currently living in remote regions of Australia, access to employment and other services is expensive and limited.

Changing the fate of children in Indigenous communities means overcoming historical and social barriers that have existed for generations, but World Vision is making serious progress.

We partner with communities, governments and service providers to support communities in raising strong, healthy and happy children.

early learning for indigenous children Support Indigenous children by giving the gift of education

LEFT: A young girl painting at playgroup. RIGHT: Yvonne Mkandara, a WVA staff member, engages with Indigenous Australian children during playgroup

Basically communities often know what needs to happen, but they don’t know how to make it happen. Our job is to help them make it happen - that’s the expertise we have.

Teresa Hutchins, Australia Program’s Manager of Program Development and Effectiveness

World Vision Australia won’t be satisfied until Indigenous Australians and non-Indigenous Australians have the same quality of life. We’re working in remote communities across Australia to make that happen, but there are still disconcerting gaps between the two in health and other categories.


lower life expectancy

The average non-Indigenous Australian life expectancy is 80 years for men, 83 years for women. The average life expectancy for Indigenous Australians is 74 years for women and 69 years for men.


infant mortality

Indigenous Australian babies are three times more likely to die before their first birthday than non-Indigenous Australian babies. They are twice as likely to die at birth or during the early post-natal phase.


infectious disease rate

Rates of infectious disease are 12 times higher among Indigenous Australians than non-Indigenous Australians. Diabetes is two to four times more common among Indigenous Australians, and they are more likely to die from it than non-Indigenous diabetics.

Many solutions fail because they don’t cater to the strengths of the communities they’re designed for…

…and that’s where World Vision Australia comes in.

We partner with communities who have invited us to join them. Drawing from their strengths, we work with them to tackle their most pressing issues and ensure their children have a bright future.

Almost 60 years of international development experience has taught us that supporting communities to make their own choices achieves significant and lasting change.

Take our work in Western Australia’s Pilbara region, for instance. We operate a successful early childhood program in three Martu communities, where local workers and World Vision facilitators draw on traditional cultural teaching to provide maternal health, child health and early childhood education.

This project has led to an increased percentage of children developmentally on track from 16 percent in 2007 to 60 percent in 2012. Children entering school in 2012 also displayed greater cognitive skills, emotional maturity and language.

We customise our Indigenous programs in response to the specific needs and aspirations of each community we work with. It’s a slow process to overcome these disadvantages, but positive change is becoming a reality for some of Australia’s most in-need communities.

Overcoming location challenges is key to successful childhood programs for Pilbara communities

World Vision Australia’s project manager Yvonne Mkandara discusses the challenges young Indigenous children in remote east Pilbara communities face when it comes preparing for primary school readiness and accessing vital services

I won’t give a donation to any organisation unless I fully research where the money is going and how it’s going to be used. We are thrilled that the money in World Vision is going on projects (which) to us has a more far reaching effect, long-lasting effect.

Carol Moore, Long Time World Vision Supporter

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