The RAP Action group is called Narragunnawali which means “Alive, wellbeing, coming together” in the Ngunnawal language.
The Narragunnawali Mob seeks to create an environment where the community experiences indigenous Australian culture and gives opportunity to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to celebrate their heritage, to highlight positive experiences, acknowledge the past and develop relationships with the local Ngunnawal people.
The Narragunnawali Mob is also known by its shorter name, the Merici Mob.
Merici Closing the Gap 2016
Our aim as a school is to be part of the generation that closes the gap between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians. To mark this day a friendly Teachers vs. Captains Netball Game was held in the gym at lunchtime in order to raise funds and awareness of this worthwhile cause. Teachers that took part were Mr Devoy, Mr Coe, Miss Way, Mrs Laird, Mr Reynolds, Mr Jarvis and Mr Guthrie. Over eighty students attended and we raised funds for the Close the Gap Campaign run by Oxfam.
On 20th October, Mr Andrew Fraser from the NRL School to Work Program visited members of the Merici Mob. The School to Work Transition Program (S2W Program) was developed in response to research demonstrating that Aboriginal youth who had not found an employment or training pathway six months after leaving school, had a significantly higher chance of being long term unemployed. The S2W Program has been operational since January 2012 and has assisted over 250 participants on their career journey. Of our 2012 graduates, 96% successfully attained a post-secondary employment or education outcome, and over 92% attained their Higher School Certificate! From our 2012, 2013 & 2014 graduates we have maintained a 98% success rate from 191 students and currently have 93 Year 11 & 12 students still in the program.
Key elements of the S2W Program
One-on-one career planning and mentoring
- Assistance to create a career development pathway
- Relevant work experience and employment opportunities.
- Resourcing to support and track students 6 months post-school.
- Opportunity to participate in cultural activities.
Participants will be supported by the S2W team as they transition from school into employment and/or further education and training. The S2W Program will also work with each participant and identify available work experience and or employment opportunities using the NRL Clubs’ business networks, where relevant, to help participants make informed career choices.
Andrew spoke to a group of Year 10 and Year 11 students about the support he can offer through senior school and for six months after year 12 to assist them in finding a school to work pathway.
He has great stories to share, including his own. The students were interested to find out that Andrew is currently Canberra’s Strongest Man!
If you are a student of Australian and Torres Strait Islander Heritage currently in Year 10 or 11 please contact Ms Martiniello (Aboriginal Contact Teacher).
Reconciliation Week 2015
We marked the start of Reconciliation Week on Wednesday 27 May with our prayer. Reconciliation Week is an important time of both commemoration and celebration for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The week marks the anniversaries of the 1967 Referendum and the Mabo decision in which the Native Title rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples were recognised for the first time since colonisation began. The week is also a time to remember with sadness the loss of land through colonisation and the breakdown in families and communities through the removal of children.
But it is also a week for remembering the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander struggle for basic human rights. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples were often supported in these struggles by the religious of the Catholic Church. The 1967 Referendum and Mabo decision are significant because they are two examples of these rights being recognised and righted and therefore to be celebrated.
Lastly as the name implies it is about us understanding our Shared History and developing mature relationships that recognise the struggles that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander had in the past and that continue in the present and looking for ways to connect and build right relations.
As part of Reconciliation Week there are activities being held here in Canberra as well as additional resources if you wish to learn more please follow the link http://www.reconciliation.org.au/nrw/what-is-nrw/.
Indigenous Captains 2015
Alicia Engelhardt Year 11 and Layla Phillips Year 10
(Pictured above left-right: Mrs Loretta Wholley (Principal), Alicia Engelhardt, Layla Phillips)
…. Is about equal and respectful relationships Reconciliation is about equal and respectful relationships between Australians with and without Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander backgrounds. Reconciliation is for all members of our Merici community, students, families and staff from all cultural backgrounds.
NATIONAL CLOSE THE GAP DAY - THURSDAY 19 MARCH 2015
During recess and lunch-time on Thursday 19 March 2015, the Narrungunnawali students (aka Merici Mob) gathered in the Indigenous Garden to celebrate National Close the Gap Day. Students sought the College community’s support to take up the 30 for 2030 challenge. The aim of the challenge is to show the College’s support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health equity by 2030.
The Oxfam initiative, calls on people to gather at least 30 signatures each in a petition that calls on the Australian Government to:
- Commit to providing adequate and long-term financial resources to achieve Indigenous health equality;
- Implement a comprehensive National Action Plan;
- Invest in real partnerships, including increased Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participation and control around health service delivery; and
- Address critical social issues of housing, education and self-determination that contribute to the health crisis affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.
The support the Merici Mob have received has been overwhelming with over 600 staff and students signing the petition.
CLOSE THE GAP CAMPAIGN
On Wednesday 11 February 2015, Alicia Engelhardt, Year 11 student and Narragunnawali Captain, presented a speech to the Prime of Australia, Tony Abbott and Opposition Leader, Bill Shorten at the Parliament House. The speech was in aid of raising awareness of the Close the Gap Campaign. The campaign is run by Oxfam Australia and aims to bring equal access to health care and education for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People. Close the Gap brings to light the life expectancies of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People who can expect to live up to 10 — 17 years less than non-Indigenous Australians.Alicia noted in her speech the importance of raising awareness to the premature deaths of many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People. “Health equality is a human right and by closing the gap we are creating a better Australia for everyone, so it makes sense that we all need to work together, all political parties, together, to achieve this goal”, said Alicia.
Alicia and her family were also involved in the production of the Close the Gap Campaign Video and advertising posters for 2015. The video illustrates the importance of all Australians working together to improve resources for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People. The video can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_PRxXdZm3kg. Please follow the link https://www.oxfam.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/2015-02-nctgd-a3-posters_web-1.pdf to view the poster.
National Close the Gap Day will be held on Thursday 19 March. Last year, more than 150,000 people took part in 1298 separate National Close the Gap Day events across the country. With events ranging from workplace morning teas, to sports days, school events and public events in hospitals and offices around the country — anyone can take part and make a difference. Please visit the website https://www.oxfam.org.au/explore/indigenous-australia/close-the-gap/ to find more information on planned activities and how community members can sign the pledge in support of requesting the Government to develop a comprehensive National Action Plan with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their representative bodies, increase Indigenous community participation and control in the delivery of health services, and address the critical social issues of housing, education and self-determination.
Merici College will be participating in activities on National Close the Gap Day and we congratulate Alicia on her commitment to such an important issue in our society.