Recent news and opinion pieces from Australia and the world on economic development, Indigenous commerce, poverty alleviation, education and more
Articles are provided for information and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or endorsement of the Australian Indigenous Chamber of Commerce or its Board or Business Advisory Group
Not ‘just’ school, it’s a lesson for life
16 November 2013
“DAY in and day out, growing up in my hometown of Cherbourg, about 250km northwest of Brisbane, I have seen things that would shock most people. Twelve-year-olds smoking cigarettes, 15-year-olds drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana, 18-year-olds pushing needles in their arms while the men in my community abuse their partners on a daily basis. This was part of “normal”, everyday life for my family and me. We all knew these things were wrong but accepted it, and not much was done to discourage it because the children were only doing what their parents do. Five years ago, I was given the opportunity to leave Cherbourg to study at boarding school in Toowoomba with a scholarship from the Australian Indigenous Education Foundation. I now see things very differently. Yesterday, I became the first person in my father’s family to finish Year 12; next year I’m going to study social work at university.
I will come back to Cherbourg because I’d be letting myself down if I gave up on my family and the members of my community. Just like my grandfather, I live for my family. They are my treasure and I will always fight for them.”
23 November 2013
AS a young girl in Bowraville, Carlie Smart watched her fellow Aboriginal friends, relatives and community members get carted off to jail and stung by the system. Later, she learned more about the disproportionate rates of incarceration compared with other Australians and decided she would try to learn more – never realising it would spark a series of events that would lead to her becoming the first indigenous law student from the area.
“My parents didn’t finish high school and they wanted that for us. I knew that I was going to get an education, but I didn’t know how,” she said. “Growing up, you always heard stories about people being picked on by the police or going to jail when they shouldn’t have and I just thought, ‘no, I don’t want it to be like that’.”
Graduate sets an example
24 November 2013
JANET Mardbinda will return to the remote community of Warruwi as the first person from the local school to have completed their Year 12 certificate. Warruwi is the main township on South Goulburn Island, which is about 290km east of Darwin. Its 400-odd inhabitants speak a mixture of languages, including Mawng, Walang, Kunwinjku and English.
Ms Mardbinda spent most of her time at Warruwi School, but flew to Darwin occasionally for specialist help with Year 12 studies from teachers at NTOEC, a distance education provider. With her for the historic moment and gushing with pride was grandmother Rachel Meiyinbara.
When education dries up – New research hints at a better method to ensure girls in Africa stay in school
2 November 2013
ECONOMISTS see reducing sexual inequality in education as a vital part of promoting development. As a result, the UN set itself the target of eliminating gender disparity in education at all levels by 2015, as one of its Millennium Development Goals.
Girls’ education improves annual income and health, including reductions in child mortality. “If you teach a boy, you educate an individual”, an African proverb says, “but if you teach a girl, you educate a whole nation.”Places like China, Bangladesh and Indonesia look likely to achieve the UN target of eliminating gender disparity in education at all levels by 2015. However, Africa will not. UN and other schemes finance school places for girls in 15 sub-Saharan countries but a new paper suggests that such initiatives are not enough to end inequality in education and finds that girls’ school attendance decreases much more than boys’ during droughts. To keep girls in school, development agencies may need to focus on measures to boost household income when times are tough, such as weather insurance or savings schemes.
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Agency aids more indigenous people into homes
20 November 2013
INDIGENOUS Business Australia, the federal government indigenous development agency, has assisted 664 households into home ownership in the past year, compared to 404 in 2011-12.
The economics of cow ownership in India
5 October 2013
IN INDIA there are about 280m cows. They produce valuable things—milk, dung and calves. But cattle are expensive to keep. These expenses are so high that cows are often a poor investment. The average return on a cow is -64% once you factor in the cost of labour. But the authors suggest that there may also be sound economic reasoning behind cow ownership. Only 7% of Indian villages have a bank branch. That means people lack a formal savings mechanism for their spare cash. Owning a cow may be a better savings option.