Since 2004, Australia has celebrated Indigenous Literacy Day on the first Wednesday of September. It’s a day to celebrate of the diversity of First Nations People’s stories, cultures and languages. At the same time, it’s an occasion to reflect on the difficulties faced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, particularly in the areas of education and literacy, while advocating for greater progress and equality in this regard.
We recently held a Cultural Confidence training session, delivered by John Briggs, in which our employees in Australia were educated on facts about historical and contemporary issues affecting Aboriginal people and the broader Aboriginal community. The session focused on practical strategies to acknowledge these issues and how they can impact indigenous people entering the workforce.
One key takeaway for many of the attendees was the importance of the Welcome to Country, the language involved in this tradition, and how it may be used as part of their day-to-day work. Language is not only a crucial tool we use every day to communicate our ideas and culture with others but also a critical aspect of our identity.
Promoting diversity, inclusion and equal opportunities for all is a central tenet of CWT’s corporate social responsibility program – what we call Responsible Business (RB). In Australia, we are a proud ambassador and partner of the Indigenous Literacy Foundation (ILF), a not-for-profit, community-led organization that responds to requests from remote communities for culturally relevant books, including early learning board books, resources, and programs to help them create and publish their stories in languages of their choice.
This year, the ILF is on track to publish 40 books in 22 First Languages, helping to preserve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages and stories for generations to come. They are also translating several well-known titles such as The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Where is the Green Sheep? into 10 languages. Making books with communities that children can relate to and in their own language is essential to developing preliteracy skills and creating long-term equality.
To commemorate Indigenous Literacy Day on 7 September, CWT’s offices in Australia will hold book swap events to raise funds in support of the ILF’s mission, and the company will match donations from our employees.
Learning about the First Nations language of your local area is a great way to celebrate Indigenous Language Day and connect with the historic culture.
CWT looks forward to celebrating this year’s Indigenous Literacy Day with the ILF, as we continue to work towards a more inclusive society for all.