A project in responsive development

After much dreaming and planning we are about to embark on an exciting new project in developing human enterprise in NE Arnhem Land. While it is hard to say what this project will look like on the ground, it is the nature of what we are trying to achieve that we do not control the outcome, the people do. And so we plan our departure to Arnhem Land with wide open minds and the knowledge that the possibilities of this project really are endless.

Arnhem Human Enterprise Development -AHED

This is a unique project in the context of work done on Indigenous communities in that the approach is very holistic, the method allows for the facilitation of, well, everything – everything the people have a passion to achieve. We recognise the many problems faced by remote Indigenous people in trying to make a place for themselves within the structures of top down development and systemic welfare. We believe a key response is to enable the people to realise their own dreams and to shape their own realities. This is the only way to truly break down the barriers they face in taking control of the direction of their lives.

The fundamental principles behind what we are doing come from a combination of methodologies which focus on respectful cross cultural communication, and finding ways to support the people turning their ideas into a reality.

So how do we plan to do this? By being available to any person, outside of the confines of service provision, Indigenous development policy, and contractual obligations, we can be present to hear and respond to the requests of local individuals. By having clear methods that avoid entering into paternalism or welfare approaches to helping people. We use our support networks to facilitate access to the resources, knowledge, training or personnel that limit the people turning of dream into reality. With the right methodology the people can become and remain the driving force in their own projects. We hope to provide the resources to remove the obstacles to enabling real, effective and people driven change and support the people in developing their own ideas and fulfilling their desires.

We imagine that projects could be anything from helping a person become literate in their own language so that they can write songs, to assisting someone who wants to manage their health, or helping establish a business enterprise. But true empowerment of the people is only found in these thing if they maintain ownership and control of the ideas.

So what we are asking now is for support in this project. You can find more information on our website about how you can help, but also please pass this information onto others who might be interested and feel welcome to contact us if you would like to support us in anyway.

About Richard Trudgen

Richard was born in Orange NSW and trained as a fitter and turner. He moved to Arnhem Land in the NT in 1973 and became a community worker, learning to speak Djambarrpuyŋu. Has now worked with Yolŋu people for over 45 years. He was the CEO of Aboriginal Resource and Development Services (ARDS) for 10 years during which time he developed discovery education methodology with Rev Dr Djiniyini Gondarra OAM and also established Yolŋu Radio in 2003. He is the author of Why Warriors Lie Down and Die and facilitated ‘Bridging the Gap’ seminars, and delivered corporate training across Australia. He is currently the CEO of Why Warriors Pty Ltd, a community development social enterprise organisation working with Yolngu people. He spends his day writing, producing podcasts and building online learning platforms, producing videos and working face to face with Yolngu. He is also involved in building online cross-cultural training material to build understanding between Indigenous peoples and the Dominant Culture.

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