Indigenous Literacy Day 2021 will take place on 1 September this year, and aims to support literacy in remote communities across the country – an important cause to get behind for all Australians.
Read on to learn more about Indigenous Literacy Day and find out how you can contribute to positive change.
The History of the Event
Indigenous Literacy Day (ILD) is hosted by the Indigenous Literacy Foundation, an Australian not-for-profit charity that aims to improve literacy in remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. It started in 2004 when former teacher and Brisbane bookstore owner Suzy Wilson created the Riverbend Readers Challenge to raise funds to boost literacy levels, eventually becoming the successful national event we now celebrate annually.
Taking place on the first Wednesday of September each year, the event raises awareness of the educational struggles facing many Indigenous groups in Australia, while also serving as a fundraiser to collect literary resources for children living in more isolated areas of the country.
Providing more than just books, Indigenous Literacy Day celebrates Aboriginal culture and the stories and languages that helped to build the country we know today. Indigenous literacy is important not just for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, but for everyone who believes in preserving our unique heritage and creating opportunities for fellow Australians.
The Purpose of Indigenous Literacy Day
Aboriginal groups face many challenges in today’s world, with education and literacy being some of the most prominent. Did you know that there is an approximate gap of 2.5 years between the literacy rates of non-Indigenous and Indigenous children? Plus, only 34.9% of Indigenous students in isolated areas met or exceeded the National Minimum Standards for Year 7 reading in 2014.
While the books purchased by the Foundation help to improve lives and open doors to further education for Indigenous Australians, there is also a focus on providing resources that cover a wide variety of Aboriginal languages. It is important for these children to have access to literature in their native tongue; this helps to strengthen the culture and allow it to thrive for future generations.
The Indigenous Literacy Foundation connects with schools to inspire change in their curriculums and support further education for Indigenous youth. Right now, the statistics aren’t good, with school attendance rates as low as 14% in very remote areas of Australia – and only 24% of children in remote Australian communities having a school that goes up to Year 12. This means that many Indigenous young people are unable to finish their education, missing out on the chance to study at university or even apply for many jobs available to those with higher levels of education. These figures demonstrate fewer opportunities are presented for Aboriginal children to excel academically, emphasising the opening for further literacy resources to make a real difference.
Ways to Get Involved
Whether you’re a school, a business or an individual, there are plenty of ways to get involved this Indigenous Literacy Day. Here are just a few ideas:
- Bring an ILF donation box to your school or workplace.
- Hold a fundraising event, such as a morning tea, book club or online fundraising drive.
- Buy an ILF t-shirt or tote bag for your family and friends to raise awareness.
- Purchase Indigenous children’s books to read to your kids.
- Become a regular giver or set up workplace giving.
- Make your organisation a partner.
- Support the cause on social media and tag @IndigenousLiteracyFoundation on Facebook and Instagram, and @IndigenousLF on Twitter.
So, how are you planning to participate in Indigenous Literacy Day this year? Reach out and let us know – we always love to hear about the ways Australians are uplifting Indigenous culture, stories and languages, and providing opportunities for Indigenous people.