The remote community of Wurreranginy, commonly known as Frog Hollow, is calling for donations to help raise funds to cover the cost of a much-needed Early Learning Centre (ELC) for the littlest members of their community.
With no other funding options available, a fundraising campaign has been established, seeking the generosity of those in a position to give to the worthwhile cause. The campaign has been made possible thanks to the support and resources of not-for-profit organisations, such as Kindred Spirits and Community Housing Limited (CHL), with the entire community involved in spreading the word and helping where possible.
Frog Hollow is located in the Shire of Halls Creek, a 30-minute drive South of Warmun (Turkey Creek). The area is a place of cultural significance for the Aboriginal community and home to Gija people .
Frog Hollow is an independent community with a strong council of Gija Elders and community members who have worked together for over 30 years to establish an independent, Aboriginal-governed school on their home country. This enables families and future generations to receive a quality education and live in the nurturing and safe community of Frog Hollow.
The Purnululu Aboriginal Corporation represents the needs of community members living in Frog Hollow and is responsible for the running of the local school – Purnululu Aboriginal Independent Community School (PAICS) – via a delegated school committee.
In the 1980s, a camp with basic housing and infrastructure for approximately 50 people was established in Frog Hollow. However, for over 10 years, Frog Hollow has not received any government support for housing. Additionally, there is little to no funding for capital works in Frog Hollow for an ELC for children aged up to three because the Department of Education only provides funding for school-aged children.
The Early Learning Program currently running at Purnululu School was established three years ago, and is funded by small one-off donations, self-generated funds through the Purnululu
Aboriginal Corporation and the Commonwealth via the Indigenous Advancement Strategy funding.
Since 2015, enrollments have increased 350 percent- from nine students to the now 44 students enrolled in 2018. The community of Frog Hollow is thriving, with many families relocating to work or volunteer at the school, and some students travelling from other parts of the region daily to attend the school.
The Early Learning Program currently consists of 13 children and, until this year, has operated out of an empty classroom. As student numbers grow, the classroom is now required as a learning space for the primary aged children, leaving the preschoolers with nowhere to go.
In order to engage children from the early years into education, and support the transition to school, an Early Learning Centre is necessary . The funds raised will not only guarantee educational opportunities for preschool aged children, it will also create employment opportunities for community members involved in the build and construction of the facility, and for those employed to work in the ELC, as well as providing a safe place for children to stay while their families are working.
The Early Years Program has been a dream of the Elders of Frog Hollow who see the importance of education for their children. Until recently, the community has been able to make use of community and school resources to ensure the program can exist. But, due to a lack of government funding to build the ELC, the Frog Hollow community is seeking innovative ways to fund this project.
To support the cause, students from the school have created an official logo and participated in the making of, and have starred in, a series of videos and photographs, which will be housed on the dedicated Facebook page created to raise awareness and keep people up-to-date with the status of the project.
In total, a goal of $240 ,000 is being sought to cover the costs of the required materials, the extensive costs in transporting them to the site and the labour itself. Donations are tax deductible or, alternatively, there is an option to choose a small gift relative to the value of donation.
Both the school and the Early Learning Centre teach with a two way approach, having both Gija language and English spoken and taught daily in classrooms, further strengthening the cultural identity of the children and ensuring they are skilled in both worlds.