For each of the six weeks of Lent, the Diocese of Parramatta is sharing one of Caritas Australia’s feature stories of lives changed through support and empowerment programs.
FOURTH SUNDAY OF LENT – 11 March, 2018
Caritas Australia is helping youth in First Australian communities to strengthen their culture and create opportunities for their communities.
Evangeline is employed as a Senior Artsworker by the Caritas Australia supported Djilpin Arts Aboriginal Corporation, based in Beswick (Wugularr), 100 kilometres east of Katherine in the Northern Territory.
Today she is strengthening Aboriginal culture, while making a living for herself – and creating opportunities for her community.
Featured in Project Compassion 2016, Evangeline went from seeking employment to being a Senior Artsworker and an inspirational leader for youth.
Her work at the non-profit Aboriginal organisation, Djilpin Arts Aboriginal Corporation, has supported the organisation’s growth from a multi-media project to a multi-level contemporary arts and culture centre. An example of excellence in Indigenous tourism, it’s now a major employer for young people in the remote Northern Territory community.
Evangeline’s community of around 450 people faces a range of challenges, stemming from the violent experience of colonisation, including few employment opportunities, crowded housing, a lack of access to services, alcohol and health problems and financial hardship.
Limited political influence continues to disempower Australia’s First Peoples. Lack of opportunity draws young people away from their country and culture into towns and cities where they are most vulnerable.
Whilst working at Djilpin Arts, Evangeline has supported the organisation’s growth from a multi-media project to a multi-level contemporary arts and culture centre. An example of excellence in Indigenous tourism, it’s now a key employer for young people in the remote Northern Territory community of Beswick (Wugularr).
This year, 2018, Evangeline is busy guiding tourists, coordinating cultural activities and helping community members to practise and market their arts, such as weaving and jewellery-making.
“Now we have a new gallery up. And we have our new kitchens, we look after these and we now maintain this to make sure it’s running okay and in good condition. We’re also trying to open up another tour for tourists to go around the waterfall, we’re just planning that now,” says Evangeline.
Evangeline believes that Caritas Australia’s support for Djilpin Arts, through Project Compassion, is vital for all Wugularr’s young people. Although their families do their best to pass on knowledge, Elders are dying and she is keen to spearhead the preservation of culture and lore for future generations.
“It’s good for them to learn and to keep their culture strong,” says Evangeline.
Support Project Compassion 2018 and help provide employment and training opportunities for First Australians like Evangeline. A just future starts with you.
This year Caritas Australia, the International Aid and Development Agency of the Catholic Church in Australia, highlights the way that the pursuit of ‘Just Future’ is changing lives. Youth are the future leaders of their societies, and are the focus of this liturgical, ‘Year of Youth’, in Australia. During Lent, Australians are invited to support Project Compassion by making a donation, or by hosting fundraising events in their local school, parish, community or neighbourhood. Supporters can also to share their stories on social media at #ProjectCompassion. To donate to Project Compassion or for fundraising ideas visit www.caritas.org.au/projectcompassion or phone 1800 024 413.