Joanne Garawirrtja, a dedicated member of the Milingimbi Remote School Attendance Strategy (RSAS) team for the past six years, is making a remarkable difference in the lives of children and families in her community.

As one of the team supervisors, Joanne has played a crucial role in developing a new RSAS trail delivery model. This approach focuses not only on school attendance but also on the holistic development and wellness of the children within the community. Recognizing that a child's overall well-being is essential for their educational success, Joanne's work is truly inspiring.

The RSAS Program, funded by the National Indigenous Australians Agency (NIAA) since 2014, has proven its value in supporting families and ensuring children attend school. Joanne and her team hope the government will continue supporting this vital program.

During a recent team meeting, Joanne emphasized the importance of the RSAS Program to the whole community. She told us that "sometimes families struggle to support their children, and the RSAS team can help support. This program is unique because we are all (extended) family members who approach their work with a deep sense of cultural responsibility." Joanne beautifully highlighted that in Yolŋu culture, all adults must support children, just as the Yolngu rom (rule)- Yothu-Yindi describes. Children (yothu) are supported by big (adults), which means adults are responsible for supporting children.

Joanne's ongoing dedication and cultural understanding has brought a transformative approach to supporting children in Milingimbi. By prioritising holistic development and wellness alongside school attendance, Joanne and her team are fostering brighter futures for the children of their community.
Sometimes, it takes individuals like Joanne to remind us of the power of community, culture, and education. Their unwavering efforts inspire positive change and remind us of the potential impact of dedicated individuals working together.