World Vision applauds the $2.6 million funding boost the Federal Government announced yesterday to build urgently needed infrastructure for early childhood and adult learning in Willowra, one of central Australia’s most neglected Indigenous communities.
Funding will be used to build a centre in Willowra, 300 km north west of Alice Springs, for adult education and early learning and care for children under five.
Indigenous infant mortality rates are three times higher than national levels. Providing education, facilitating the transition from early years to primary school, and supporting parents is critical in the development of remote Indigenous Australia. This centre will provide the opportunity for the community to give their children the best start possible.
The funding announcement follows continued pressure by the community, the Central Land Council, World Vision Australia, Newmont Asia Pacific and the Central Desert Shire – and a feasibility study showed the need for and benefits of infrastructure for adult and early learning needs in the community.
“This is a major breakthrough as the community’s been waiting for support for more than two years, says Rev Tim Costello, World Vision CEO.
“We’re thrilled. We’ve been working with the community since early 2008 and the chronic needs of children and their families were immediately apparent,” says Costello.
“Under fives are particularly vulnerable and the earlier we start working with them the better the long-term future is for them and their community. We’ve seen the benefits of this early intervention in our international work as well as here in Australian communities,” added Dr Mark Moran, Head of World Vision’s Australia Program.
World Vision has worked alongside Indigenous communities in Australia for several decades, including a new early childhood care and development program in the Pilbara with the support of BHP Billiton Iron Ore.
Early childhood care and development is one of the most critical areas of work to overcome Indigenous disadvantage. It can help develop children’s physical health, social competence, emotional maturity, language and communication skills and wellbeing.
Available for interview: Tim Costello, CEO World Vision and
Mark Moran Head World Vision Australia Program
Michelle Rice 0402 503 227