Indigenous Literacy Foundation
The Indigenous Literacy Foundation (ILF) has been an essential organisation working towards equity of opportunity for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in remote communities. Let's take a deeper look at their efforts so far and how you can be a part of their journey.
In 2004, former teacher and owner of Riverbend Books in Bulimba - Brisbane, Suzy Wilson, became aware of the literacy gap between remote Indigenous communities and their non-Indigenous counterparts in urban areas. She started her journey to tackle this issue by first launching the Riverbend Readers’ Challenge, then teaming up with Fred Hollows Foundation and the Australian Book Industry to become the Indigenous Literacy Project in 2007. In 2011 it was superseded by the Indigenous Literacy Foundation (ILF), a national not-for-profit charity focused on improving literacy levels in very remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
It has been supported by the Australian Publishers Association, the Australian Booksellers Association, the Australian Society of Authors, and the Children's Book Council of Australia. The ILF with its team of Ambassadors, volunteers and staff run their core programs: Book Supply, Book Buzz and Community Literacy Projects, which provide culturally appropriate books, support early learning, and empower communities to write and publish their own stories, in the languages they choose.
Some of their current Ambassadors include:
- Jessica Mauboy: Australian singer, songwriter and actress
- Alison Lester: Award winning author and illustrator and former Children’s Laureate
- Andy Griffiths: Award winning author
- Professor Anita Heiss: Celebrated author and speaker
- Gregg Dreise: author, illustrator and musician
In addition to these esteemed names, ILF has also been associated with Geraldine Brookes, Adam James, Sally Morgan, Katie Noonan, Michael O’Loughin, Felix Reibl, Sam Watson, Tara June Winch, Leonie Norrington and May O'Brien.
Over the course of its lifetime, the ILF has gifted 537,100 new books to over 400 remote Indigenous communities, with plans to give another 99,000 books in 2021. At least 40% of books gifted are created by Indigenous authors and illustrators to ensure culturally relevant books for babies through to adults in remote Indigenous communities.
Indigenous Literacy Day!
Celebrated on the Wednesday 1st of September 2021, the Indigenous Literacy Foundation has organised a free, virtual, covid-safe event that will provide a window into the richness, diversity and multilingual world of First Nations peoples. The event will be a fun, entertaining and educational journey, and it will have something for every age group!
The online event will be an on-demand style website, where you can scroll through and engage with the content of your choice. The videos available will include stories from talented First Nations people like pop star Jessica Mauboy, author and performer Gregg Dreise, celebrated photographer Wayne Quilliam, a special video from Uncle Archie Roach, videos of kids in the community, and many, many more!
There will also be a selection of pay-to-experience digital workshops run by seven talented individuals, including some of their ambassadors and supporters. A special 25-minute event in collaboration with the Sydney Opera House's Digital Creative Learning program for the younger audience to engage and enjoy. This event will feature dynamic, engaging performances of First Nations kids, Elders and leaders for groups aged 4-11 to celebrate their language and stories.
‘Only 36% of Indigenous Year 5 students in very remote areas are at or above national minimum reading standards, compared to 96% for non-Indigenous students in major cities, according to the 2019 National Assessment Program for Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN)'.
Organisations like the Indigenous Literacy Foundation are doing everything they can to improve this statistic. While they have helped numerous communities around Australia, they could use your support to make a bigger impact. If you would like to help this fantastic organisation in their journey, click here.
To view the entire list of charities we support, kindly click here.