It’s been a massive year for VAEAI and Koorie Education in 2019, filled with trials and triumphs as we work together for a better future for our community.

We’ve been a part of countless events, worked with the Koorie community across Victoria and the Victorian Government to implement ideas and strategies, and produced advocacy that will move us into a brighter tomorrow.

As the end of the year draws near, we want to thank everyone who has been involved, and recap some of the biggest moments across VAEAI’s 35th year as an Incorporated Association.

March - Koorie Conversations

All of the main players in Koorie education met in Lorne for Koorie Conversations to start the year off on the right note. The conference was held over multiple days with VAEAI President Geraldine Atkinsons setting the tone.

“We formed over 40 years ago, because of the extremely poor education outcomes for our people, due to the complete lack of cultural understandings in schools, to make a change” VAEAI President | Geraldine Atkinson
April - Languages in Victorian Kindergartens

VAEAI alongside the Department of Education announced that 32 kindergartens would begin introducing Aboriginal languages across the state of Victoria. It was a landmark occasion as the implementation of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander content in curriculum continues to grow.

June - VAEAI, DET & Melbourne FC

VAEAI staff teamed up with the Department of Education & Training and the Melbourne Football Club to establish the ‘I Have Your Back’ campaign to address racism and bullying in schools. A video campaign was produced to encourage bystander behavior and the strength to stand up to bullying behavior.

July - NAIDOC Week

NAIDOC Week was an incredible representation of the Koorie organisations and community coming together to celebrate the strength and pride of culture. The theme of Voice, Treaty, Truth mirrored the unfolding political climate in Victoria and thousands turned up to march to Federation Square for the NAIDOC March.

August - Koorie Academy of Excellence Expansion

The Koorie Academy of Excellence has been a perfect representation of what happens when our children are given a chance to shine. The Academy has nurtured learners progressing through secondary school and it was expanded into two further regions in July.

“The whole idea has a foundation of three key areas. Leadership qualities, re-affirmation of culture and academic development. We want these students achieving to the highest standard possible whilst being proud of their culture and comfortable in their own skin,

“The idea is that the students will gain the confidence and qualities to be able to achieve, whatever they want to do in life.” – Lionel Bamblett
September - Wurreker Awards

VAEAI and the Department of Education recognised excellence in VET, higher education, training and employment with the 2019 Wurreker Awards. The event, held at the Aborigines Advancement League in Thornbury, acknowledged individuals and organisations that have excelled in creating fruitful employment opportunities for the Koorie community,

“VAEAI’s Annual Wurreker Awards are an important part of our approach to growing success in Koorie education and training. The awards are a celebration of how high-quality training can open up new directions for Koorie people.” VAEAI President – Geraldine Atkinson
October - Early Years Conference

VAEAI’s Early Years Conference at the Mantra Bell City was a massive success in bringing people from all areas together to discuss the support and growth of Koorie children. Key figures such as Aunty Di Kerr, Deputy Premier James Merlino and key note presentations from Dr Esme Bamblett, Emeritus Professor Judy Atkinson, Professor Yin Paradies, Miranda Edwards and Stacey Brown set the tone for the three day event.

November - Cert III in Learning an Endangered Aboriginal Language

To support community language learning and reclamation, as well as build a teaching pool, a pilot Cert III in Learning an Endangered Language. This was delivered to a cohort of Aboriginal students of which 13 have recently completed. The pilot course a partnership between VAEAI, the Victorian Aboriginal Corporation of Languages (VACL), DET and the Victorian School of Languages (VSL).

December - A Big Year for Aunty Geraldine

Aunty Geraldine celebrated her 20th year as VAEAI President and has been an inspirational leader over her time in the education industry. Along with this, Geraldine was elected as the co-chair of the First Peoples’ Assembly in December 2019.

“Education is important: it is about empowering the next generations as well as breaking the poverty cycle.” – Aunty Geraldine Atkinson

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