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Jaru Pirrjidi program


Mt Theo Program runs Jaru Pirrjirdi or Strong Voices program for Warlpiri Youth, with the aim of cultivating young people to live good and healthy lives. The programs purpose is to provide Youth with the means to become responsible young adults. who make a difference in the community. Every child in the community is part of the program.

Jaru Pirrjirdi consists of six different elements, or six steps for youth to go through before graduating. These steps are 1. Youth Program (participation and helping run), 2. Education (both formal and informal, 3. Culture (bush trips), 4. Projects (Hip Hop Music and Dance), 5. Mentoring (looking out for each other), 6. Future Pathways (careers, healthy & responsible lifestyles). Prior to graduating, youth are ‘training Jaru’, and start to run activities and projects such as the hip hop project. Trainee Jaru, Faith Napanangka Penhall and Tyrone Spencer played a major role in the recent hip hop project. Training Jaru are also involved in general youth activities such as the Disco, AusKick and softball. Projects are facilitated by youth workers, who support and guide Jaru trainees in their work. Graduates and training Jaru, Simos Japangardi Brown, Nathan Brown, Bruno Wilson and Waylan Jungarrayi Hudson are life guards at the pool.

Education is a key focus area, and recently expanded key growth area of Jaru Pirrjirdi. Educational aspects of the program are: the homework centre, Jaru night club, getting students enrolled into boarding schools, re-engagement into formal education and training, life guarding, and PAW Media training.
The program is building a relationship with the school, working closely to reengage older youth to re-enroll and complete their studies.

Geoffrey Japaljarri Wilson, Terence Jupurrurla Wilson, and Annalisa Napanangka Egan have been great role models for this aspect of the program. They and the re-enrollment campaign has generated a lot more enthusiasm from young people in attending and returning to school. An adult education centre is also being developed by Yuendumu School with the support of the Jaru Pirrjirdi project.

Jaru Pirrjirdi tries to incorporate Warlpiri Culture into everything it does. Excursions are organised to country for young kids, with two elders to teach them about Bush Tucker and Jukurrpa. Warlpiri books are used in the Homework Centre. Warlpiri Hip Hop songs, and the Southern Ngalia Dance project, where elder Ladies teach young women Jukurrpa songs and dances, all contribute and strengthen Warlpiri Culture in youth. Other projects include Grafitti Art once a year, and film and media projects in collaboration with PAW Media.

Apart from offering wonderful opportunities for youth to engage in, basic services such as getting birth certificates, drivers licenses, bank accounts and assistance with banking and other personal administrative issues, are also provided readily. Warlpiri Youth are cared for, educated, and strengthened by Jaru Pirrjirdi. They in turn naturally come up with project ideas, and requests, and therefore steering the program themselves.

There are over 100 members of Jaru Pirrjirdi. More senior members who demonstrate a particular interest and aptitude in caring for others, often begin training as youth mentors through the Warra-Warra Kanyi project (also a part of the Mt Theo Program).They are the sets of eyes and ears in the community, looking out for young people at risk, and bringing them in to the program. Future pathways for Jaru youth are to move up, take on more responsibility, take on full time work, school or parenting, and become young respected leaders in the community, with meaningful futures.

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