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The Cathy Freeman Foundation's purpose is to close the education gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous children and to provide pathways to a brighter future.


1 July 2015

As our school partners enjoy a half year break, I too have a smile on my face and am grateful for all the good things that have occurred over the past six months.

To see our work come to life with our partner communities has been truly wonderful and the welcome I personally received on my recent trip to Wurrumiyanga and Galiwin’ku was something I will cherish for a lifetime.

We have just completed the Term 2 Tour to our seven school partners in Wurrumiyanga, Galiwin’ku, Woorabinda and Palm Island. We presented 548 Starting Block Awards to deserving students in remote Indigenous communities for their efforts in school attendance, literacy and class behaviour. More than 400 family and community members attended which speaks volumes about just how proud community members are of their children’s achievements.

There was also terrific community support at the CFF 2015 Netball Challenge on Palm Island on 19 June. Nine schools from the region competed for the Aunty Kathy Tarpaulin Memorial Shield. Both Palm Island teams made it to the semi-finals and congratulations to Ryan Catholic School who won the Shield. It is very humbling to see our Activities program grow from netball and rugby training to an annual calendar event where more than 100 students competed and more than 100 locals cheered their support.

In May, I had the good fortune of meeting the students on our Horizons trip in Melbourne and these Year 9 and 10 students were impressive indeed. One of the students from Palm Island, Josiah, gave a compelling speech at a special dinner with business leaders, where he recalled his experience of visiting Melbourne and how it dawned on him on the rooftop of the Credit Suisse building at 101 Collins that “the sky is not the limit!”

The Year 5 and 6 Horizons group also left quite an impression on all who met them in Sydney and since returning home, school attendance has been outstanding for all involved. These students are truly our greatest advocates of the programs and it’s wonderful to hear that they’re enjoying sharing their travel stories at school assembly when they return home.

People from all walks of life are supporting our work and I’m filled with gratitude that our EOFY Appeal has been our best on record. This includes friends of the Foundation who call in for a cuppa and annually show their generous support, to wonderful school children like eight year old, Sarah Baker from NSW, who set up a sweet stall and raised $150 at her local shops to raise money for the Foundation!

I thank you all - from the children to the elders, parents, school leaders, teachers, program and business partners, donors, volunteers and staff – as collectively we make this work possible and we’re making a difference.

Best wishes

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Cathy Freeman, Founder & Director
Cathy Freeman Foundation