Posted: 27 Jul. 2021 3 min. read

Helping Indigenous kids be the voice of our future

One of the best ways Deloitte Australia can make a social impact is by supporting charities and causes aligned with our strategy, and what our 10,000 people feel most passionate about. This month, we were delighted to announce that the Indigenous Literacy Foundation (ILF) was chosen as one of The Deloitte Foundation’s family of charities. Our new relationship encourages our people to learn about the importance of promoting Indigenous literacy, as well as inspiring them to volunteer or help fund the supply of culturally relevant books as part of making an impact every day.

And the timing couldn’t be better – we’ve just celebrated NAIDOC Week in July, and we’re quickly approaching Indigenous Literacy Day on Wednesday, 1 September 2021. 

One voice for everyone

The Indigenous Literacy Foundation is a national book charity with a wonderful vision of equity of opportunity, and it’s dedicated to lifting literacy levels in remote Indigenous communities so all children across Australia have the same choices and opportunities. Imagine that. It may seem relatively straightforward, but it’s a big challenge with huge rewards.

Three programs that support Indigenous communities and kids

The charity’s three programs touch Indigenous kids’ lives in different ways – ranging from being given new, culturally appropriate books (537,100 books have been supplied to over 400 communities), promoting a love of reading for kids under 5 through Book Buzz, and producing and publishing books (103 to date and counting)  by Indigenous people, for Indigenous people. 

Working with inspirational ambassadors to raise awareness

As well as many other inspirational roles, Nukunu man Dr Jared Thomas is also an ambassador for the Indigenous Literacy Foundation. Born and raised in Port Augustus in the Southern Flinders Ranges, these days Dr Thomas is an inspirational storyteller. During NAIDOC Week he spent some quality ‘virtual time; with some of our Deloitte colleagues to share how he came to love reading and writing books that symbolise culture and belonging.

Tam Schafer from our Responsible Business team attended the NAIDOC Zoom session with Dr Thomas and was inspired by his literacy journey. “He said that at school and university, he found it hard to relate to the English classics being taught. Then, on a school excursion to the Adelaide Fringe Festival in 1992, he saw the play ‘Funerals and Circuses’ by Arrernte playwright Roger Bennett. It was a life changer. After a trip to Jamaica to learn about Caribbean writing, Jared realised he wanted to write books with Aboriginal protagonists - to address racism and lift the lid on what it was like to be Aboriginal and working class.”

Dr Thomas’ books Calypso Summer (about a young Nukunu man in Rastafarian guise) and Songs That Sound Like Blood (a coming of age story for a small-town girl), both published by Australia’s leading Indigenous publisher Magabala Books. 

Jared himself recognises the importance of the Indigenous Literacy Foundation and its role in turning the dial on Indigenous illiteracy.

“The magic of the Foundation is two-way learning – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people learning English-language literacy through their own stories and culturally appropriate material that includes some of their own language.”

Photo credit: Indigenous Literacy Foundation Facebook

Find out more about NAIDOC Week, 4-11 July, 2021:

Find out more about and register for Indigenous Literacy Day, 1 September, 2021:

Read Deloitte’s Reconciliation Action Plan

Check out Dr Jared Thomas’ books

More about the author

Ike Levick

Ike Levick

Marketing Director, Brand Storytelling

Ike is the firm’s Marketing Director, Brand Storytelling and she is passionate about shaping and telling stories that show the impact we make with our clients, people and in society. She embraces all forms of storytelling, internal communication and employee engagement techniques to deepen our people’s connection with our wonderful brand.  She has over 25 years’ experience in management consulting and working for large corporates to drive communication excellence.