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By UNICEF Australia
1 April 2021

Indi Kindi is expanding into new Indigenous communities in the Northern Territory.

Sector-leading not-for-profit Aboriginal early years initiative, Indi Kindi, is set to expand into new Indigenous communities in Northern Territory, including Tennant Creek, and in Queensland thanks to a partnership with UNICEF Australia.

Following ground-breaking success since 2012 in the remote communities of Borroloola and Robinson River, in the Gulf of Carpentaria, Northern Territory, Indi Kindi will open in Tennant Creek in the Northern Territory this year, with plans to expand to Kuranda in Queensland.

Delivered by the Moriarty Foundation, Indi Kindi is a holistic Indigenous early years initiative for children under five years of age that integrates education, health, wellbeing, and community development. Indi Kindi currently reaches an unprecedented 80 percent of Indigenous children in Borroloola and Robinson River. The co-designed and community-led initiative addresses 11 of the 16 Closing the Gap targets.

UNICEF Australia Chief Executive Officer, Tony Stuart, said, “UNICEF Australia and the Moriarty Foundation are united in our belief that all Australian children should have an equal opportunity to realise their developmental potential.  Working collaboratively, we are committed to helping to improve outcomes for children and to addressing multigenerational disadvantage in remote Aboriginal communities.”

The partnership will see the two organisations work together to bring about systemic change and address multigenerational disadvantage in remote Aboriginal communities through knowledge sharing, advocacy and partnerships.

Moriarty Foundation Honorary Managing Director and Co-Founder, Ros Moriarty, said, “It is very significant to be deepening our relationship with UNICEF Australia. UNICEF’s charter in Australia is closely aligned with our objectives in that it is an advocate for children’s equality, regardless of remoteness or life circumstances.”

“The expansion of Indi Kindi is the culmination of many years of hard work by our local Indi Kindi educators and Community Advisory Group. They have shown that an initiative that is co-designed within an authentic Aboriginal worldview, is able to successfully close the gap and have immense long-term benefits our children and community,” Moriarty Foundation Co-Founder and Co-Chair, John Moriarty said.

The expansion of Indi Kindi to Tennant Creek in the Northern Territory and Kuranda in Queensland will create 20 new jobs, along with volunteering opportunities. Indi Kindi has a proven track record of keeping local women employed. Currently, 60 percent of its staff in Borroloola have been employed for four to six years.

According to the Barhava Report, Indi Kindi has had, and will continue to achieve, considerable health, education and community impacts. Its holistic approach, delivered in a culturally relevant framework with the aid of local knowledge and local languages, is demonstrably effective in shifting entrenched inequalities in school readiness and health outcomes in Indigenous Australia.

The Moriarty Foundation has seen continuous participation growth in John Moriarty Football in Tennant Creek since launching 12 months ago. The decision to establish Indi Kindi in the region was based on the community identifying the need for the initiative.

Warlpiri/Warumungu woman, Cultural Advisor and Facilitator of the Suicide Story Program with Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance Northern Territory (AMSANT) in Tennant Creek, Valda Napurrula Shannon Warntaparri, said, “The community is very supportive of Indi Kindi coming to Tennant Creek as there is a strong need for an early years service that is delivered by local people sharing knowledge, traditions and stories, using local languages. We must work together to create a strong foundation for future generations. Indi Kindi will help the young kids to learn and will also be good for their health and wellbeing, and for their mums too. We also want Indi Kindi to provide sustainable employment opportunities for local women.”

Member for Barkly, Steve Edgington MLA, said, “It is great news for the community that an initiative like Indi Kindi is coming to Tennant Creek. Not only will it provide high-quality early years education, it will also integrate with other community and health services to provide a safety net of support for young children and families. It is also great that the initiative will be community-led with a local Community Advisory Group so it can respond to the needs of the Tennant Creek community.”

The expansion of Indi Kindi to Tennant Creek in the Northern Territory was made possible due to UNICEF Australia’s recently announced domestic partnership with Livingstone International. This partnership will support early childhood development programs for Indigenous children living in remote communities in the Northern Territory and reach some of Australia’s most vulnerable children, such as Indi Kindi.

The Moriarty Foundation was founded in 2011 at the request of senior Aboriginal Law women in Borroloola who wanted to see their grandchildren better prepared for school. Borroloola is one of the most remote and disadvantaged communities in Australia, with severe poverty stemming from high unemployment (50 percent) and extremely challenging standards of education and health. According to the Australian Early Development Census, 66 percent of children in Borroloola are classified as vulnerable in two or more domains, compared to 11 percent nationally.