NASCA listens to what Aboriginal kids want”

We caught up with Kieran who took his skills and enthusiasm to Papunya as part of NASCA’s NT Program.  Located in the MacDonnell Regional Council about 240KM northwest of Alice Springs, Papunya has hosted NASCA staff and volunteers for over ten years. Like all volunteers, Kieran told us he had an experience that changed him forever.

Kieran Chowdry, a 25 year old University Student studying a Masters of Public Policy at Sydney University is one of the latest people to have contributed to NASCA’s Northern Territory Program.  

Kieran has had a professional background working in finance, including two years with Price Waterhouse Coopers, however, he said his interest in NGOs and social justice has grown since being selected to go to the birthplace of the Western Desert Art movement – Papunya.

His four-person team was led by NASCA staff member Hannah, who has delivered the strength-focused program numerous times before with a range of skilled and passionate volunteers of different backgrounds and ages. Prior to leaving all volunteers to undertake unique cultural awareness training in Alice Springs to prepare them for the week ahead which for many is life-changing, at times emotional and highly engrossing.

Broadly the program NASCA delivers provides culturally appropriate learning support, personal development, sports and health sessions using the skills of a variety of passionate volunteers and the strengths and guidance of community members.

Kieran informed NASCA his awareness of Indigenous issues came mostly through his own research. Of the additional cultural awareness training in Alice Springs he said “it allowed the group to let our guard down, we were able to speak respectfully without using ‘us and them’. It allowed everyone to be seen as equals in that setting”. He also said that it not only prepared him for what to expect when in a remote community but also “how to conduct yourself in community.” Kieran joined 14 other socially aware Australians (who were spread across different communities for one week) for the experience that he says heightened his desire to advocate for parity for all Australians and something he says should be undertaken by “as many people as possible.”

Though his work with Aboriginal students specifically was relatively limited, his time coaching teenagers at Rugby and other volunteering indicated Kieran had a yearning to support young people to reach their goals. From his experience, he says he was able to impart some of his own knowledge to the young people but also was taught a lot himself including “realising just how significant and important community and culture is to the kids”.

Applications for NASCA’s August NT Program are now open, click here for more information and to apply. 

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