“From little things, big things grow” – Kev Carmody & Paul Kelly
The dreaming of Gudjagang Ngara Li-dhi (listen to the children) began in 2011. A collective of Aboriginal women living on Darkinyung Country, started yarning about the need to develop culturally relevant responses to Aboriginal families, children and young people experiencing trauma on the central coast. The collective was supported by the Benevolent Society to explore community development options, specifically the need for Aboriginal organisations in the community to address gaps in service delivery.
The collective were focused on addressing gaps in service delivery for young Aboriginal people and were alarmed about the over-representation of Aboriginal children in out of home care. This coupled with a growing recognition that there was no Aboriginal organisation addressing this matter, became a high priority for the group. The collective believed there was a cultural responsibility to provide continuity of care and support these young people and local Aboriginal families strengthen their Aboriginal identities.
In 2013, with the support and guidance of Helen Keevers from the Benevolent Society, the dream of creating a service that would care for our families, children and young people on our country became a reality when Gudjagang Ngara Li-dhi became incorporated. The name held particular significance and Aunt Nola Leslie suggested we name the service Listen to the Children. The Darkinyung Language group translated this to Gudjagang Ngara Li-dhi.
Gudjagang Ngara Li-dhi developed its constitution and was successful in gaining funding through the Beneovelent Society to deliver early educational experiences and early intervention programs that would enhance the lives of our families and connect them to their country. Fundamentally, this meant that GNL became operational.
In 2015, Barnardos and GNL began discussions about the development of a program to support Aboriginal children living in out of home care, which led to a partnership between the two organisations. In 2016, GNL and Barnardos launched the Gudjagang Darkinyung Out of Home Care Service, with the partnership program lasting for two years.
In 2018, in response to issues affecting Aboriginal youth and their transition to adulthood, The Barudir Project was launched. Barudir was a platform for youth to engage in creative learning and development in specific areas including project management, group work, leadership, service knowledge, system navigation and employment pathways.
Today, Gudjagang Ngara Li-dhi continues to deliver a range of community-based programs to build the capacity and empower Aboriginal families, children and youth from the GNL Community space in Wyong.