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  • Writer's pictureKyriakos Tsinivits

Indigenous Literacy Day goes live around Australia featuring Jessica Mauboy

Photo taken on Indigenous Literacy Day 2015 by Prudence Upton Photography

On Wednesday, 2 September, the Indigenous Literacy Foundation (ILF) along with its Ambassador and Australia’s Eurovision 2018 representative Jessica Mauboy and long-time supporter and celebrated musician Archie Roach invite all Australians to join their national, virtual Indigenous Literacy Day (ILD) celebrations.

This 45-minute celebratory event will go live on YouTube at 12:30 (AEST) and is conceived as a highly visual event intended to inspire broader Australia to appreciate the value of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ first languages and the importance of language learning.

Children and community members from the Tiwi Islands and Jilkminggan in the Northern Territory and Bidyadanga in Western Australia will share their stories and discuss the value of language, and Cheryl Lardy will read 'Yu sabi densdensbad?' (Can You Dance?) in Kriol.

ILF Ambassadors - including Andy Griffiths, Shelley Ware, Alison Lester, Josh Pyke, Natalie Ahmat, Jared Thomas and Anita Heiss, co-patron June Oscar AO and long-time ILF supporter Archie Roach - will share their insights and stories of community engagement, and Jessica Mauboy will sing a stunning rendition of an Australian favourite from the 1980s.

“At ILF we understand that early literacy is the cornerstone of success in education," says Karen Williams, ILF's Executive Director. “We understand that encouraging early literacy requires children and their parents to have access to books and that children need to see themselves in the stories they read. They need to see that their culture is cherished and their stories are celebrated by all Australians. We welcome everyone to join us for what we believe is an incredibly positive story, and one that all Australians should be part of.”

In previous years, this celebration has taken place at the Sydney Opera House with children from remote communities, local schools and ILF ambassadors and supporters attending. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year the event will be open to everyone Australia wide for the first time.

In collaboration with the Sydney Opera House, the ILF is also launching an Indigenous Literacy Day celebration targeted at primary and early learners (children between the ages of three and eleven). This is a separate event and will commence at 14:00 (AEST) on the Sydney Opera House YouTube channel. At this event, Jessica Mauboy is set to sing ‘The Barramundi Song’ in a mixture of Tiwi, Mangarryai and English.

The Foundation’s Indigenous Literacy Day YouTube events provide an opportunity to share experiences and to demonstrate how positive, community-led engagement makes a difference.

The ILF is a charity operating within the book industry and focuses on three programs for remote children and their families: Book Buzz supports early literacy; Book Supply provides culturally relevant books and books translated into language; and Community Literacy Projects engages communities in the writing and illustration of their own books in their first language. Donations to the Foundation fund these programs for the communities most in need.

The Foundation is encouraging everyone to contribute to this worthy cause. Every $10 donated puts a book into the hands of a child in remote Australia. To donate go to


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