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Events in Canberra to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children’s literacy program

Canberrans are invited to experience Our Yarning by attending events during a week of writers’ workshops and public lectures.
15 September 2022

Save the Children’s Library For All warmly invites Canberrans to experience the Our Yarning program, which is hosting a series of writers’ workshops, public lectures, and activities in the nation’s capital from 19-21 September.
 
Our Yarning is a free, digital library of culturally relevant books created by and for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The Our Yarning team will host three story time sessions at early childhood centres, host writers’ workshops, and hold a public lecture at Canberra University presented by Our Yarning’s Cultural Advisor Dr Julie Owen during the week of events.
 
An ‘In Conversation’ event will also be held with adventurer and Save the Children Ambassador Huw Kingston, who will be fresh off the mountain from his 50-day trek across every ski resort in Australia raising funds for Our Yarning. Huw, who has embarked on several fundraising ventures for Save the Children, will discuss his expedition spanning 700 kilometres and his passion for Our Yarning.
 
Our Yarning, which commenced in 2021 and now has nearly 160 books in its collection, is hosting events in the ACT for the first time after holding writers’ workshops in the Northern Territory, Queensland, and Western Australia. Our Yarning aims to run workshops across 50 communities and have 500 books available by 2026.
 
Dr Julie Owen, Cultural Advisor and Education Specialist for Library For All, said:
 
“Over the past 18 months we have been working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from across Australia to turn their much-loved campfire stories into children’s books.
 
“We have already hosted writers’ workshops in a number of communities across Australia and are now extremely excited to bring Our Yarning to Canberra. The workshops are an opportunity to gather stories for the Our Yarning collection but to also engage with adults on the value of literacy.
 
“In addition to the workshops, I will also host a public lecture at Canberra University and will discuss everything from the importance of yarning within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture to how Our Yarning began and our exciting plans for the future.”
 
“Our Yarning’s mission is to address the disproportionate impact of illiteracy among Aboriginal and Torres Strait children by providing access to culturally relevant stories, as we know children engage better when they can see themselves in the characters of the books they are reading.
 
 Adventurer and Save the Children Ambassador Huw Kingston said:
 
“Despite undertaking a 50-day cross-country skiing expedition, I feel rather energised. I’m excited for Our Yarning and what it will achieve and am thankful I’ve been able to contribute to this effort.
 
“I started my expedition on 29 July at Victoria’s Lake Mountain and have since hiked and skied about 700km, travelling via every mainland Australian ski resort, and crossing through nine Aboriginal nations.
 
“The expedition is scheduled to finish at Namadgi National Park in the ACT on 18 or 19 September, to coincide with the week of Our Yarning activities in Canberra, where I will discuss the challenges and triumphs of my journey and my passion for Our Yarning.
 
“Having now exceeded my target of $50,000, I am extremely thankful to everyone who donated and who supported me on this trip. It was very challenging at times, but the money raised will go a long way to furthering Our Yarning’s amazing work.”
 
With a mission to make knowledge accessible to all, equally, Library For All has developed and launched a globally available digital library application, delivering educational materials into communities where history, poverty, or remoteness are everyday barriers to accessing books. Library for All became a Save the Children Australia not-for-profit enterprise in 2020. For over 100 years, Save the Children Australia has been working in child protection, providing children with access to healthcare and education, and assisting children in times of emergencies both in Australia and abroad, including in the Pacific.
 
To register for the events, please visit the following links:

ENDS
 
MEDIA CONTACT: Joshua Mcdonald on 0478 010 972 or media.team@savethechildren.org.au.
 
NOTES TO EDITORS:
 
All of the events will be held at the University of Canberra and are free to attend. The writers’ workshop is from 5:00pm to 7:30pm on Tuesday, 21 September and dinner is included. The public lecture with Dr Julie Owen will be from 5:30 – 6:15pm and the conversation with adventurer Huw Kingston from 7:00 – 8:00pm, both on Wednesday, 22 September.

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