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Aboriginal Literacy Program Launch - Toronto Library

Today we gathered on Awabakal Country to launch an Aboriginal Literacy Program formed out of a partnership between social purpose organisation Life Without Barriers and Toronto Library.

Lake Macquarie Mayor Cr Kay Fraser opened the event and shared that she still owns the very first books that she was given as a child. Eleven-year-old Kirra Lee Simon did a wonderful Acknowledgement of Country and she was followed by the Biraban dancers who performed three traditional dances for the audience.

The morning was then filled with Aboriginal Cultural Awareness activities for the children, parents and carers in attendance – including storytelling, painting, a musical puppet show featuring native Australian animals, and a possum walk throughout the Library. Branch Librarian Kieran O’Donoghue said, “Toronto Library will be continuing the program in May and June this year with stories in the big blue chair, computer education sessions and even Aboriginal art classes.”

Aboriginal trainee assistant at Lake Macquarie Libraries Maree Simon added, “We intend to reach out to the Aboriginal community in the Lake Macquarie region and invite and welcome them to enjoy the range of activities we offer here. Where better to learn about Aboriginal history and culture than the library!”

Life Without Barriers State Lead for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Initiatives, Les Ahoy said, “This program introduces literacy resources to Aboriginal children which encourages reading and engagement with books, thus improving their literacy skills. Through the program parents and carers will be encouraged to read books with their children. And in doing so, they will be empowered to be the role models for their children.”

Life Without Barriers Chief Executive, Claire Robbs said, “At Life Without Barriers we believe that reconciliation must live in the hearts and minds of all Australians. We must work together to improve education, cultural, spiritual, physical and emotional wellbeing in young Aboriginal and people. We are thrilled to be a part of this wonderful program and partnership that strengthens our community and celebrates the history, cultures and traditions of Aboriginal people.”

See all images here: 

Photographer Credit: Bec Lewis –