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BOOKS IN HOMES AT KUNAWARRITJI

Feb 9, 2022 0
Kunawarritji is a remote Martu Community in the Great Sandy desert in WA. It is located 800km from Newman and 755km from Port Hedland. Kunawarritji is Well 33 on the Canning Stock Route. We are part of Rawa School, with our sister school Punmu being 170km away from us.

Our mail comes in weekly on the mail plane. We have a shop, clinic, and a Home and community care (Hacc) centre for elderly people, and a school in our community. About 40 students are enrolled at our school, but on average we have about 15 to 18 students at school each day, as many students move between other communities for cultural and family reasons. A couple of times a year we travel eight hours to Marble Bar to participate in the swimming and sports carnival.

The teachers stay out in community for the term and need to do 10 weeks’ worth of shopping for themselves and the school. All our food, stationery and other supplies get packed into a truck, which drives out to the community. It takes us about 12 hours to travel back to Kunawarritji. We need to cross two major rivers and have about 500km of dirt roads. If it rains the roads are closed. Sometimes the teachers need to be flown in on the mail plane, so they can start school, with the vehicles coming in as soon as the roads are safe.

Our students speak English as their third language and speak Manyjilyjarra or Martu Wanka as their first language. We work hard with learning Manyjilyjarra, and have Martu language teachers in our classrooms. We are a two-way learning school and much of our learning is on country. It’s important for the Martu people that language and cultural knowledge is taught. We do lots of camping and travelling out to important places like the Rockholes where our Grandparents lived.

Our students enjoy coming to school, they enjoy all aspects of their learning. They are wonderful readers and enjoy their books very much. The students wrote some letters to Books in Homes last year, saying why books are important. Some of their comments were:

  • We learn about other places
  • We have books at home to read at night time.
  • It gives us something to do and not just be on our phones or watching videos.
  • It’s nice to own books.

Books in Homes are so important—the children feel so proud when they get their books, and they love selecting them and enjoy reading them in class as well. These students don’t receive many new things and I feel so proud when I see their books being looked after and treasured in their rooms, sitting up on the shelves in their room. They can practice their reading at home with their parents, and indeed, many of their family members also practice reading as well.

The students love getting their Books in Homes books and thank their Sponsor BHP very much for this wonderful opportunity.

Written by Michelle Day, Books in Homes Coordinator at Rawa Community School, Kunawarritji Campus.
Photos supplied by Michelle Day.

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