Sisters and Brothers acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which our offices stand and we pay our respects to Elders past and present. We acknowledge the sorrow of the Stolen Generations and the impacts of colonisation on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. We also recognise the resilience, strength and pride of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
This year we are collaborating with First Nations Sisters and Brothers artist facilitators and the team to develop a stronger curriculum that honours knowledge and practices of Australian First Nations peoples and how our colonial history still impacts all people of colour in Australia today. We are exploring ways to interrogate these issues with learning communities which is very exciting.
We continue to build partnerships with learning communities in Braybrook and Fitzroy as well as 2 new schools in the inner north at the City of Moreland which is very exciting. Over the last 6 months we have piloted a new model of delivering the program which is now fully integrated into 2017. That consists of 1 x 8 week program in Term 1 with Grades 5 and 6 students and these graduates then have the opportunity to apply to be Sisters and Brothers Peer Mentors whom will co-deliver a 4 week program with our team to Grades 3 and 4 in Term 2. This is very exciting and we are pleased to have developed this model with Kensington PS whom were highly responsive to addressing race-based discrimination through a collaborative process built on trust and desire for change. Big ups to Claire Mckeown for driving this at Kensington PS.
Here are some excerpts of Peer Mentor applications:
“The Sisters and Brothers program changed the life of me and those around me in a positive way. I have found that a lot of the big issues of Australia never seem to be taught to children…Bullying signs are stuck up everywhere but do you think bullies are going to listen to them? The Sisters and Brothers program changed all that. I now often ask myself, am I being a bully?”
“Sisters and Brothers has had an impact on me because when I play football some people are rude to me. Sisters and Brothers have given me the skills to deal with this. Their program has also helped me to help others who being teased or bullied at school and who need help to stop it from happening to them”
“This program showed me that everyone wants the same things, friends, family, food, shelter and respect. The program had an impact on me such as I realised every little racist comment and look has an effect on someone”
We are developing a short promotional video so please be on the look-out for that in the coming weeks, Ez El Din Deng is directing and editing this.
We would also like to share some evaluation data collected over the previous financial year 2015/16.
We worked with 340 primary school students and 290 high school students.
According to 6 month post program surveys from 2 primary schools (n90):
- 96% reported a capacity to share resilience strategies with someone who experiences race-based discrimination
- 46% reported sharing the program with friends and/or family
- 21% reported personally experiencing RBD. Of those, one-third respondents reported standing up for themselves
- 34% of respondents witnessed a situation of RBD. Of those, just under one-third reported successfully intervening.
Here are some insightful shared with us from a high school community:
- “I loved all of the activities because you learnt about racism and sometimes kids in my class can be racist me because I’m brown”
- “I learnt that we should accept one another for who we are as a person and not neglect or hate each other because of race and culture”
- “In the last session of the day there were 290 Year 7 students dancing and singing about ending racial discrimination and coming together as one to ensure that we are all treated equally”
Photography by Nicola Dracoulis