Welcome to Edition 60 of Family News,

FN60-SharijnBy the time you are reading this we will be only weeks away from Xmas and the start of 2016.

The past year has been one of our most challenging but also rewarding. The Directors made some huge decisions and used the money from years of careful saving to fund several of their own language and culture, aged disability and emergency relief programs. These programs have been designed and delivered with input from the Directors with a true approach to helping people in need and to demonstrate awesome respect for culture. The programs were hugely successful and produced great results for both our clients and staff.

Directors also made a significant investment in the future of Waltja buying a rural property not too far out of Alice Springs. This will be for Waltja workshops and meetings but with careful planning it will develop as a place to share culture and knowledge. Small groups of people will have the opportunity to spend a week at a time with our women and experience Indigenous life one on one in town and out bush. Waltja will also be able to offer conference workshops and special events that give visitors a unique experience. Our members want to share and learn, two way and also to make new friends. They want to encourage Indigenous people from other places around Australia and overseas to come and share with them.

Waltja has continued to recruit, train and employ young people. Some of these have already completed their accredited training and secured employment at Waltja and or elsewhere at a higher level. Five of our staff are now in an Indigenous Workforce program focused on management and leadership. One person was invited to a study exchange in the Phillipines. We have also supported all staff to up-skill and take on training; indigenous languages, safety, wellbeing and mental health, all types of vehicle licenses, multi–media, money management, human resources, community development, business management and governance are just a few examples.

The staff remained very committed to their work through out this busy year. The Executive and Directors worked closely on all programs and activities for Waltja and provided on site mentoring.

As you read the Family News you will see that cultural support stays as the basis for all of our work. Helping different generations to be together to better understand each others worlds and for younger people to have access to their own family history, language, stories and places.

Waltja’s main challenge this year has been to secure ongoing government funding when more and more often this is going to one big provider for the whole NT. Local knowledge is being moved further and further away. The new disability scheme is also proving very difficult for the government to roll out in remote areas but Waltja is working closely with project staff to ensure the best service outcomes for clients.

On a happier note our workplace at 3 Ghan Road has gone up nearly four times what we paid for it when it was an empty block in a field. This gives Waltja a good asset to fall back on if times get harder. We have also enjoyed some excellent funding from the Tim Fairfax Family Foundation and from various government departments especially the Department of Social Services.

Please stay safe this Christmas season. Wear those seat belts, use the baby seats, take a spare tyre or even two and always take plenty of water.

Thanks for supporting Waltja! Happy Christmas and New Year. Enjoy the family news and send us your stories too! See you somewhere soon.

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