news

Raise your hand for Indigenous literacy

We all acknowledge that learning to read and write is a basic right for every child. Sadly this is not the case for many young children in remote Australian communities.

With only 1 in 5 children in remote Indigenous communities able to read or write at the minimum standard, the Wall of Hands Indigenous literacy appeal raises much needed funds for the The Australian Literacy & Numeracy Foundation (ALNF) to deliver the literacy programs to change this unacceptable situation.

ALNF was founded by Kim Kelly and Mary-Ruth Mendel in 1999. It was the first literacy and numeracy organisation in Australia to receive charitable status. Together they have changed the lives of thousands of Indigenous and refugee children in regional and remote Australia.

Mary-Ruth is a leading speech pathologist, Kim a former model and businesswoman. They are the unlikeliest of pairs, yet it is their incredibly different, passionate and determined natures that drive them to their common goal: changing the face of literacy in Australia.

Kim Kelly, ALNF Co-founder:

“I have seen first hand the devastating effects that illiteracy can bring. Not only for an individual, but also for their entire family and community. From understanding prescription directions on a child’s medicine bottle to gaining a drivers licence, shopping for groceries, helping a child with their homework, keeping a job, withdrawing money from an ATM.

“As a mother of four healthy kids, I am committed to ensuring my children have the best possible education and opportunities for their future. As an Australian, I feel an equal commitment to ensuring that the best opportunities are available to all Australian children. Learning to read and write is the vital first step to achieving this.

“The statistics are often staggering, however, we can all do something very simple to turn the numbers around. By joining the Wall of Hands campaign at www.wallofhands.com.au we all have the opportunity to raise a hand and help close the Indigenous literacy gap.

“Thanks to ALNF’s new partnership with the Out of Home industry, wherever you stand in Australia, you will be encouraged to take part. Look out for us on roadside billboards, at bus and train stations, on taxi backs and street furniture.

“With a collective effort from all Australians we will absolutely make a difference.”

Now in its fourth year, the campaign has already helped raise over $600,000 to support Indigenous kids in the Northern Territory learn to read and write through ALNF programs. This campaign is creating a real movement towards closing the Indigenous literacy gap.

This year’s goal is to raise $300, 000. Funds raised will support life-changing literacy programs for children in the remote communities of Tennant Creek, Mungkarta, Elliott and Ali-Curung.

To get involved simply visit www.wallofhands.com.au. Raise your hand, donate and spread the word. Remember – many hands make literacy work!

The 2012 Wall of Hands appeal will commence on June 22 and run until September 9.