Wadeye Children & Family Centre
Some of the children attending the service face health and welfare issues more often seen in the third world.
One Tree operates a children and family centre in Wadeye, a remote community that is the largest Indigenous community in the Northern Territory.
One Tree operates a Children & Family Centre in Wadeye, a remote community that is the largest Indigenous community in the Northern Territory.
The service hopes to provide regular meals, health and welfare monitoring and the opportunity for children to learn by play.
Once a week, a nurse visits the Creche to conduct health checks for the children. Once a month, the Tooth Mob also visits the Creche and manage an "Oral Hygiene Program" where they play games and sing songs with the children teaching them how to brush and rinse their teeth whilst learning about the causes of tooth decay. In addition, twice a week, a Sport & Recreation Officer facilitates organised games with the kinder children (for example Tee-ball and soccer etc.).
Wadeye CFC has an "Open Door Policy" and encourages families to stay with their children when available or join the service for morning or afternoon tea and join in singing cultural songs.
In 2012 the service introduced a "Pre-school Orientation Program" for Kinder children. Once a week for 4 weeks the Kinder children caught the school bus up to the Pre-School and joined in mat time and morning tea with the school children. We found this was a great way to introduce children to the school setting and it has made their transition to school this year much smoother.
Wadeye, originally called Port Keats, is situated 420 Kilometres South West of Darwin and closed off by road, at least six months of the year. The Kardu Diminin people are the traditional owners of the land on which the Wadeye township is built.
It is the largest Indigenous community in the Northern Territory and gained significant political and media attention as a part of the Northern Territory Emergency Response or ‘Intervention’.
Wadeye was established as a Roman Catholic mission in 1935. The population of Wadeye is approximately 2700 - 3000 people with 22 different clan groups relocated to one area.
English is a second language for the Indigenous people, living in Wadeye, with Murrinhpatha being the main language spoken. Having only come under European influence 76 years ago, the Indigenous people of Wadeye are in transition.
At it’s worst, large groups of men, carrying spears and sticks rampage through the community. Two rival gangs (the Judas Priests and the Evil Warriors); both having several hundred members, seek to establish themselves as being the most dominant.
At it’s best, are local community elders and non-Indigenous leaders, who work together to look for solutions in a complex community that has been catapulted into the westernised world of the twenty first century.
Children in Wadeye have the opportunity to explore a wonderous natural world with few of the restrictions placed on those growing up in urban environments.
The Indigenous people have a love of AFL football and excel at the sport. There is also a sense of mutual respect between non-Indigenous and Indigenous people living in Wadeye.
One Tree has experienced the community of Wadeye as being welcoming and supportive. We have so much to learn from the Indigenous people and feel privileged to have had this opportunity to spend time in this community.
Phone: (08) 8978 2904