Ngaga-Dji Project receives the Young Voltaire Award and calls for more action

The Ngaga-dji project and the Koorie Youth Council (KYC) are extremely humbled to receive the Liberty Victoria Young Voltaire Award on behalf of the children who have trusted us with their stories. The collaborative project led by Anna Cerrato and Indi Clarke, voices the experience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in Victoria’s youth justice system.

“This report was the first time that these children have had their voices heard, giving Victoria the chance to understand how policy choices affect their lives and the future of our communities,” said Indi Clarke, KYC Executive Officer.

Over six months in 2018, KYC engaged with four community sites (including rural, regional and metro) and two youth justice custodial centres to meet with children and young people who were currently or previously under youth justice supervision.

“I remember speaking with every single child and young person who contributed to this report. I remember the stories, the reflections and their visions for systems that truly support our children,” Indi Clarke, KYC Executive Officer.

The stories in Ngaga-dji are from the heart, they are about love, trauma, strength, discrimination and healing. They are about justice and equality. The report shows how culturally based community services can change children’s pathways.

“We need everyone in communities, our allies, the social services sector, government, and opposition to stand together for real justice for our children. By continuing the work of Ngaga-dji we are acting on the voices of children who are calling for change,” Indi Clarke, KYC Executive Officer.

Ngaga-dji sets out a vision for a Victoria that enables Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children to thrive and the path to making that happen. The stories show us that when governments create systems that truly support the self-determination of our communities, children and their families can live free from the justice system.

“These children are telling their stories because they trust us to listen and take action on the Ngaga-dji solutions. Ngaga-dji is a call to action,” Indi Clarke, KYC Executive Officer.

The Liberty Victoria Young Voltaire Award honours a person or group, 30 or under for an outstanding contribution to human rights or civil liberties, celebrating those who campaign and speak out or take action. The award will be presented at a dinner in Melbourne on Saturday, 27 July 2019.

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