2020 Round 2 Winner

Puuya Foundation

Enhancing the lives of the children and families in Lockhart River through reading and learning

The Puuya Foundation’s vision is for the people of Lockhart River to have a quality of life similar to, or better than, those of average communities throughout Australia.

With a focus on strong culture, Puuya ‘heart or lifeforce’, leading to a strong future for the community, the Puuya Foundation works alongside the Lockhart River community to improve quality of life and opportunities.

Since 2008, we’ve focused on creating authentic partnerships with the people in this community, working together and using projects identified by the community as essential to their future success. Our key goal is to develop the skills, knowledge, confidence and experience necessary for the long-term advancement, development and sustainability of the community.

In 2012, the leaders requested that the Puuya Foundation, develop and implement a high-quality, culturally sensitive, early childhood education and parenting program. This service was successfully established and by 2016 we had created a purpose-built family centre – the Kuunchi Kakana (families together) Centre.

To date the Foundation’s work with the Kunnchi Kakana early years and parenting program, has shown that children attending demonstrate increased educational participation and better organisation in their prep school year. In 2019 the parent and carers survey reported that 93% of parents/carers had improved their engagement with their children since participating in our programs.

The Learning Together for a Better Life Program is leveraged on this success and places a clear focus on increasing literacy skills to improve education and life outcomes to benefit children, families and the community. 

Lockhart River Aboriginal community located in Cape York Queensland, is one of the most economically and socially disadvantaged, remote communities in Australia.

There are approximately 774 residents in Lockhart River, 83% of whom identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander. The community has a strong cultural identity stemming from the different traditional language groups, KuukuYa’u, Wuthathi, Umpila, Kaanju and Uuthalganu clans.

Our long term capacity building strategy recognises the importance of the Lockhart River community history, the crucial value of culture, language, identity and place, and the need for Indigenous people to be in their culture and also have the opportunity to thrive in non-Indigenous cultures. 

Sunsuper’s Dreams for a Better World grants will provide the funds for training and resources to expand our Kuunchi Kakana Centre early years program with a particular emphasis on engaged literacy with parents/carers in the Lockhart River community.

We will create an environment of learning and sharing culture together, whilst contributing to adult’s and children’s learning. 

The grants will also be applied to upskill staff and parents/carers, and evaluation of the program so that beyond this year, this program is sustainable with many more children and families benefit in the future

In Lockhart River, most children do not have books at home. With increased funds, extra resources can be purchased, and follow up training and mentoring can be offered.

With further learning resources available, parents/carers and children will be able to read at home and as well as at the centre, thus contributing to positive family relationships, enhanced education opportunities, and establishing lifetime patterns of learning.

Our dream supports the UN Sustainable Development Goals

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