The Cultural Unit’s mission is to ensure all children in KARI’s Foster Care Program develop a strong connection to their culture and identity.
Our staff bring with them a wealth of cultural knowledge through their own life experiences, supported by formal cultural certifications.
As Aboriginal people, we know just how important it is to create a connection to one’s identity and country – we embrace it, knowing that together they form the foundations of belonging. While we are all on our own personal journey, a communal approach is needed to achieve this goal.
Our cultural education programs aim to establish practices that are both socially and culturally inclusive for children in foster care, their Carers, families and staff. With this in mind, the Cultural Unit strives to develop comprehensive cultural care plans in consultation with key stakeholders, the child in foster care, their Carers, their natural families, the community and staff.
The Cultural Unit has developed a variety of vacation care programs with the aim of empowering our children, while giving them the opportunity to learn about their Aboriginal culture and heritage.
The programs are held every school holidays and include such adventures as:
- Cultural excursions to significant Aboriginal sites throughout the Sydney region – giving children the chance to gain hands-on cultural experiences.
- An Indigenous art program, also known as Indig-Art, hosted by our artist in residence. Children learn how to create and interpret stories through art, while also giving them the opportunity to take part in an activity that teaches them the history and meaning of our art.
- An Aboriginal dance program where children learn basic movements and ultimately gain an understanding of the significant role dance plays within Aboriginal culture.
- A didgeridoo program, offering young Aboriginal men a chance to learn about the history, relevance and art of didgeridoo making and playing.
- A basket-weaving program gives children and young people, particularly girls, the opportunity to learn the traditional skill of basket making and sharing.
All KARI Cultural Unit vacation care programs have had involvement and endorsement from various Aboriginal community members and elders.
The Cultural Unit strives to host two cultural camps a year. The camps run over two nights and three days and are designed to empower our children, while giving them access to opportunities to learn about their culture.
Our cultural training programs hope to provide hands-on cultural experiences that are both informative and empowering. They’re designed to be culturally appropriate, relevant and practical and aim to improve and/or enhance the attitudes, cultural skills, knowledge and behaviours of everyone involved in relation to cultural communication and interactions.
Our KARI carers and staff share a variety of knowledge of Aboriginal culture in the South Western Sydney, Western Sydney and Central Sydney regions, so our workshops are developed to cater for their varying expertise. We’re also creating more workshops to meet the ongoing requests from our carers and staff.
In an effort to prevent another Stolen Generation, the Cultural Unit works tirelessly to reconnect our children and young people to their family, land and culture. It’s an important role to play and ensures the children in our care have a strong sense of identity and belonging.
To achieve this, KARI has introduced the role of Family Research Officer within the Cultural Unit. The position is responsible for confirming Aboriginality, while also making sure all the children and young people in foster care have researched and developed their own family genograms. Children then have the opportunity to sit down with the researcher to look at their family and kinship information at any time.