Indigenous teens tell their stories

Kadadjiny Bidi students with their books (Supplied)

Indigenous students at a Catholic employment and training centre in Western Australia have been working together to publish books that tell “a little bit about me”. Source: The eRecord.

Centacare’s Skills for Education and Employment Kadadjiny Bidi (Learning Path) program works to teach language and literacy skills through project based, culturally embedded learning. The program is open to Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander girls aged 14 and over.

In their books, the students spoke openly and honestly, tackling topics that the young Indigenous women hold closest to them – family, friendship, fear and their hopes for the future.

While the course prepares the students for their future endeavours, student Nicole Nannup spoke of the anxieties young people can face surrounding achievement and underachievement.

“The one fear that I consider to be my biggest, is not achieving whatever I want to accomplish in life,” Nicole said. “I want to accomplish getting several certificates and get a diploma of business at university.”

For her, Nicole continued, the fear of failure, and not living up to expectations is what she considers her biggest fear in life.

“It is something that has come to frame my thought process, my actions and my drive over time,” she said.

“I am thankful for it in many ways and believe that I may not have done all that I have over the last several years without this sense of fear. But now that I know, maybe it is time to develop a method of controlling it, and reining it in.”

With various pressures, internally and externally, having a huge effect on our youth today as they work towards completing their education and finding employment, some 23 per cent of teenage students in Australia said that they felt anxiety about their future.

Because of this, Bidi students are working to reduce these anxieties through learning lifelong skills that they can use in future work, study or their community.

The project based learning program embeds indigenous culture into its activities to ensure learning is relatable and familiar for students. The program includes traditional art, cooking and collaboration with elders and works to increase empowerment and self-identity in the girls.


Centacare’s Kadadjiny Bidi students publish book on life as an indigenous teen (The eRecord)

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