Adventurer, environmentalist and Save the Children ambassador Huw Kingston will set out this Friday on a 700km cross-country skiing expedition through the Australian alps, in an effort to raise $50,000 for the organisation’s Our Yarning project.
Our Yarning is Australia’s first free library of books authored by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to grow children’s literacy through culturally relevant stories, working with communities across Australia to gather unique stories that reflect the diversity of Indigenous Australians’ lived experiences.
Run by Library For All, which merged with Save the Children Australia in 2020, Our Yarning aims to publish 500 books over the next 5 years that will reach 95,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.
Huw Kingston, who has so far raised $32,000 for the literacy project, will begin his Alpine Odyssey with a cross country ski at Victoria’s Lake Mountain resort, where the Taungurung traditional owners plan to send him on his way with a smoking ceremony and a Welcome to Country. He will then head off from Mt Baw Baw on the Sunday for the 700km journey north.
Dr Julie Owen, Library For All’s Cultural Advisor, said:
“Aboriginal people have a rich tradition of storytelling, and we know that children learn better and enjoy reading more when the story they are reading has characters that reflect their lived experiences.
“If you cannot relate to a story, then you tend to be less interested and struggle to engage, with research showing that a lack of culturally relevant stories has an impact on overall literacy rates among Aboriginal children.
“The Our Yarning app can be used offline so that children can access our 142 books anywhere, anytime. Within the next few months there will be more than 200 books on offer, putting us well on track for having 500 books available in the next five years.”
Huw Kingston, Ambassador for Save the Children, said:
“I am extremely pleased to be raising money for Our Yarning, which supports First Nations children to learn their own stories from books by Indigenous authors.
“Aboriginal culture dates back tens of thousands of years and is rich with stories. The best way to ensure these stories live on is to pass them on to children.
"I'll set out on the expedition from Victoria's Lake Mountain and will travel via every Australian ski resort, as well as through nine Aboriginal nations, before finishing up at Mt Selwyn in NSW, some 50 days later.
“I look forward to getting started and thank everyone who has already donated, helping us raise $32,000 so far, well over halfway to the target. This support has been very inspiring.”
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.
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.
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