To Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples
Ngroo Education Incorporated understands the truthful history of this country and the genocidal actions of many of those before us from the earliest steps taken on your land European people. We understand that this history has caused unimaginable grief and ongoing pain to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples for loss of country, family, language and culture. We understand your continued suffering with declining health, increased incarceration, increased child removals, dislocation in education and generally poorer life outcomes than other Australians. We understand and acknowledge your continuing frustration with policy expectations that over many years have not delivered sustainable social change. We are truly sorry.
To address this apology, we will find ways to move forward together:
Acknowledge and keep all these disturbing facts in our minds.
Avoid using top down approach in deciding what is best to fix this situation
Consult by listening to you, talking with you and then walking together to improve outcomes in education for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.
Acknowledge that Elders and the community best know what will work to deliver positive outcomes, with our role being to assist the process by informing and collaborating with teachers, early childhood education and care services, health service providers and others in the broader community.
We promise to walk together with you as you determine the path.
Ngroo acknowledges Aboriginal people as the First Peoples and thanks Elders and communities for sharing their land.
Our office sits on Darug land.
Budyari yanna muru - go on a good walk path.
Ngroo Education Incorporated began in 2008 with a conversation between a non-Aboriginal teacher, a young Aboriginal mother and an Aboriginal Elder who wondered why there were very few Aboriginal children in the preschool in Western Sydney when there was a large surrounding population of Aboriginal families. This began a long journey of the development of the Walking Together program that continues today with results that have improved the engagement of Aboriginal children in early childhood education across NSW by 50% in those participating services.
Significant support for the work of Ngroo Education Inc. since our formation in 2011 has come from:
Professor Mick Dodson AM Patron of Ngroo Education Inc.
Director of the National Centre for Indigenous Studies at ANU and Professor of Law at ANU. In his Australian of the Year speech in 2009 Mick said ”That every child deserves a good education and that a country as prosperous as this one should be able to provide it, are things all of us agree on. We’ve been agreed for a very long time and yet we still can’t do it”
Mick Gooda Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commissioner
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner at the Australian Human Rights Commission.
Commenting on Ngroo’s practices Mick said “NGROO is an excellent example of culturally legitimate, contemporary Indigenous governance, which is why it is a case study in the Social Justice Report 2012. What I see all the time is that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people know best what the problems are in their communities and what’s needed to solve them. NGROO is an organisation designed to put this community knowledge front and centre and the results speak for themselves. With its strong focus on building the cultural competence of early childhood education and its structural design ensuring full participation of each community, NGROO ultimately reflects a human rights based approach to getting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children to pre-school. With this model of community governance, combined with sound corporate governance structures and outstanding leadership – both non-Indigenous and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander – NGROO offers lessons to all organisations including Governments looking to deliver services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.”
Full report can be found in the Social Justice Report 2012
Linda Burney MP
Ngroo Education Inc. Board Former Chairperson stated in her inaugural speech to the NSW parliament in 2003 “Education is the pillar, the cornerstone of social justice. It is education that can bring about the equity of outcomes”
Sussan Ley MP
Assistant Minister for Education tweeted in 2013 ” Well done Ngroo Education. Dancing with the children in bare feet is the best Closing the Gap I’ve seen”
Important Dates in our Development
2010: HESTA ECEC Award for Excellence
2012: Listed as a Case study in Social Justice Report to Parliament
2012: Incorporated and approved for DGR and Charity tax status
2013: Zest Award for Exceptional Project in a Not for Profit Organisation
2014: Hesta ECEC Award for Excellence Nomination
2015: Hesta ECEC Award for Excellence Nomination
2017: Philanthropy Australia Indigenous Award Special Mention
Philanthropic and Government Support
Our seed funding was donated for 2 years operation in 2011 by a very generous couple who wish not to be named.
We have since operated with the very generous assistance from the Cages Foundation, The Funding Network, The Rali Foundation, Patterson Pearce Foundation, Clubs Grants NSW, Gandel Philanthropy, Cale Hubble, Jessie Street Trust, private donations and Federal and State Government funding.
Organisations supporting Ngroo Education since 2011
From May 2011 to May 2017 Ngroo Education Inc. has worked with 1000 schools, trained 3500 staff and engaged 2050 children in schools.
Ngroo Education Incorporated will continue to focus with the Walking Together program on reducing the 22% of children under 5 years who do not access early childhood education in Australia. This statistic is quite shocking in a country where ‘the fair go’ should be for all but more shocking when a large number of children making up the 22% are the children of our First Peoples. The main focus of our work is concerned with the fact that if a child does not access education then other educational concerns are irrelevant. Respectful ACCESS is vital to the start of a good journey.
We will continue to supplement NSW DEC curriculums with the Walking Together program that provides schools with the skills to include respectful local Aboriginal knowledge which then assists improvements in access attendance and achievement outcomes for Aboriginal students.
Our future work will also focus on our Transition in School statement to address the immediate concern around Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children being more than twice as likely (42%) to be developmentally vulnerable than non Aboriginal children (20.8%) - Australian Early Development Census 2015
We hope to fulfil Article 14 .2 of the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples which states ’ Indigenous individuals particularly children will have the rights to all levels and forms of education of the State without discrimination’.