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By: Georgia Free

The Indigenous Literacy Foundation’s aim is simple – for every child in remote Indigenous Communities to have access to books. This year alone, they have donated more than 120,000 books and counting to communities in need.

The Indigenous Literacy Foundation (ILF) Programs Manager Zoe Cassim is a Widjabul Wia-bul woman from Bundjalung Country in Northern NSW. She shared in an interview why the ILF’s work is so important.

“Putting books into the hands of children and families in remote communities is such important work, so we really depend on days like this,” Zoe said.

What Does the Indigenous Literacy Foundation do?

The ILF have three core programs – Book Supply, Book Buzz and Community Publishing Projects.

Book Supply has seen more than 120,000 books gifted to remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islands communities in 2022 alone. The packs are carefully curated for age groups and more than 40 per cent of the books authored by Indigenous writers.

Book Buzz is a program that targets early literacy, with a focus on First Nations languages.

“It’s really designed to engage the whole family, but especially those young jahdjams, those little bubbas,” Zoe said.

The program has seen classics like The Very Hungry Caterpillar translated into several First languages.

Lastly, the Community Publishing Projects provide writing, illustrating and publishing assistance to Indigenous authors with existing book ideas – in either English or First Language.

“Basically, we allow them access to getting their stories told, which is really powerful,” said Zoe.

Learning Songs in First Nations Languages

Jessica Mauboy supports Indigenous Literacy Day
Above: ILF Ambassador Jessica Mauboy with Derek and Dean who appear with Jess in the Indigenous Literacy Day Digital event and teach her to sing in their languages of Tiwi and Mangarrayi, Picture Supplied

To celebrate Indigenous Literacy Day, the ILF ran a National Digital Event – a short film involving the children’s song Head Shoulders Knees and Toes being taught in a number of First Languages.

The film starred Jess Mauboy and Gregg Dreise, as well as communities in Tiwi and Jilkminggan.

To rewatch ILF’s National Digital Event, click here. For more information, visit The Indigenous Literacy Foundation website.Indigenous Literacy Foundation Facebook Post

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Article supplied with thanks to Hope Media.

Feature image: Supplied

About the Author: Georgia Free is a broadcaster and writer from Sydney, Australia.

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