Indigenous Leader Wins Reconciliation Fellowship & New Funding
19 May 2016 at 10:58 am
Australian indigenous leader, June Oscar AO, has won a prestigious global award that celebrates individuals doing extraordinary work in reconciliation as her Kimberley enterprise takes up a new venture philanthropy partnership.
Oscar, who is due to receive the Global Reconciliation Desmond Tutu Reconciliation Fellowship award at the Melbourne Town Hall on Thursday from former Governor-General Dame Quentin Bryce, said most of the funding for her work in the Kimberleys was due to run out after 1 July.
However Oscar’s Marnin Studio, a social enterprise in Fitzroy Crossing, has become the first venture philanthropy partnership for Social Ventures Australia (SVA) in Western Australia.
The Indigenous arts and therapeutic studio operates out of the Marninwarntikura Women’s Resource Centre. The studio supports local Indigenous women to turn the things they love to do into projects that provide them with a source of income, as well as enable job readiness skills.
SVA announced on Monday that through the venture philanthropy partnership, it would be supporting Marnin Studio with a combination of funding and capacity building support over a three year period “to enable the studio to become a sustainable enterprise and ensure they can continue to offer healing and growth for the Fitzroy Crossing community”.
“The relationship with SVA will help us to plan for many good things to happen in the community and reciprocally, we can provide knowledge and support to SVA that will help them and their partners to work with other communities like ours to bring about long-term positive benefits,” Oscar said.
The Chairman of the Tutu Reconciliation Fellowships, Dr. Charles Lane, said Oscar was a worthy winner for her outstanding community health achievements in the Kimberley’s Fitzroy Valley and influence in forging Indigenous rights policy at all levels of government.
“Indigenous children born in Fitzroy Valley suffer from the highest rate of alcohol-related diseases in the world. Ms. Oscar’s tireless commitment at the Marninwarntikura Fitzroy Women’s Resource Centre helped uncover the exceptionally high number of children afflicted with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD),” Dr Lane said.
“She was also instrumental in her community winning a landmark legal ruling that stopped the flood of alcohol in the area. Thanks to Ms. Oscar’s strength and determination, alcohol restrictions were introduced in Fitzroy Crossing indefinitely.”
Global Reconciliation is an Australian initiative that promotes dialogue and practical engagement across cultural, political, racial, religious, national and other differences.
Dr. Lane said one of Oscar’s remarkable strengths was her amazing ability to bring about constructive discussion between conflicting and often angry groups.
Past winners of the Desmond Tutu Reconciliation award include world famous Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.