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Warra Warra Kanyi program

05/12/2010

Recently formalised and developed as a program, Warra Warra Kanyi (WWK) is a mentoring and counselling service for Warlpiri youth. The main principle of the program is for young people who have been through and resolved their own issues, to look after, mentor and care for their younger peers who face the same challenges.

Young people who have graduated with success in achieving the aims of the Jaru Pirrjirdi program, choose to take on responsibilities of mentors. Mentors are matched with younger people along skin, family, ceremonial and culturally appropriate lines, so as to do things properly in the Warlpiri way.

A 38 member steering committee, with senior Cultural Advisor Jean Napanganka Brown, directs the program. Aaron Jakamarra Bradshaw is a mentor with WWK. He ‘only just started’ his role, and believes it is ‘better to be a role model, so they can look up to me and other men’. He sees his task as a mentor ‘to be kind to them, to look after them’ so that they will ‘grow up how we grew up’. Aaron Jakamarra’s current project is organising a Soccer competition now, and a basket ball competition later on. He said ‘kids are excited when they heard we are starting, and couldn’t wait to start’ soccer. Soccer will be held in doors at the Mt Theo Youth hall. But first Aaron has to ‘get trophies and bibs, and the indoor grounds marked’ for the game.

Another recent example of the work done by male mentors of Warra Warra Kani is the Strong Family Men project. Mt Theo’s Cecil ‘Crocodile’ Johnson came up with the idea for the project, which project is a rich telling in first person, of men’s – fathers and grandfathers – family stories, accompanied by lovely images.

Strong Family Men is a collaborative work between Central Australia Mental Health Service,  PAW Media’s Jason Japaljarri Woods, who participated in the project and acted as photographer, and WWK. Stories are on the Mt Theo website, and were exhibited in Alice Springs on Fathers Day.

People who saw the exhibition wrote messages to the community and the people here. The images and stories are currently being exhibited at the Mt Theo offices, and people are welcome to come along and see them, and give feedback. The project is continuing and will grow, adding more men and their strong family stories to the current important collection.

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