By Rachel Buch
Visiting the YMCA Early Learning Centre was definitely a highlight of our recent visit to Newman. As soon as we walked in the door an energetic group of Martu kids were absolutely bouncing off the walls to greet us.
At our first mention of radio the kids quickly told us they did not listen to Newman’s community radio station because it was “boring”, but their interest peaked when we asked them if it would be more interesting if they were on the radio. They began telling us their ideas and, without us even asking, some of the problems they identified in their community. Kids as young as 8 years old told us they were worried about the older kids in their community, with many having problems with alcohol, drugs and smoking.
We placed a flipchart and some marker pens on a table. Within moments these future adults were working together, brainstorming ways to express their concerns to the rest of the community and writing down their thoughts. When we invited each person to read out their own idea, some didn’t want to be recorded. But with coaching from us and encouragement from their carer, Jackie, by the end of the session almost every child had contributed to the recordings.
We then went back to our accommodation and quickly edited the individual statements into several radio segments (community service announcements), then emailed them to our partners. The next day our local partner Angela Wilmot told us that some kids who had participated in the workshop visited her house the next day and she played them the finished recordings. “You should have seen their faces!” she said. “The kids absolutely lit up when they heard themselves speak.”
Listen to the kids telling us what they think about smoking:
Be encouraged with us! Encouraged to know that Martu youth in Newman are engaging their peers to talk about issues they see around them everyday. Encouraged to be supporting the potential these young people have to make a difference in their own community. And encouraged to know that we are supporting groups like the YMCA and John and Angela Wilmot in their work among the Martu people.
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