In the heart of Sydney 35 young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are attending an intensive program of literacy and numeracy in a vibrant environment that celebrates and strengthens Indigenous culture.
Their school, Gawura, sits within St Andrew’s Cathedral School and is a highly regarded ‘lighthouse’ model for Indigenous day school education. Their formula has been helping Indigenous children achieve in education for more than a decade.
Izak Rigney-Sebastian is from the Ngarrindjerri and Pitjantjara Nations and was just 4 years old when he joined Gawura’s first cohort of students in 2007. “I learnt so much about my culture from Gawura” he says.
We first met Izak when he was in Grade 6 and School Captain of Gawura, and again as a young teenager. He’s now a thriving Year 12 student who plays the didgeridoo and the violin, sings and is learning to drive. He’s always been passionate about science and attributes Gawura for raising his aspirations: “without Gawura I probably wouldn’t be striving to do medicine next year.”
Just like his Great Great Grandfather, inventor David Unaipon, who can be seen on the $50 note, Izak has a strong spirit of reconciliation and a desire to contribute to this community. He plans to use his love of science to improve health outcomes for Indigenous Australians.
“You only have one life. You might as well make the most of it”, he urges those following in his footsteps. "And when you’re young, basically you can do anything."
Our Foundation has gifted more than $900,000 to Gawura so that students like Izak can be the best that they can be. Origin volunteers have also been giving their time each week to help Gawura’s young students with their literacy.
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