Caritas bridges gap for aboriginal youth project

Caritas has stepped in to ensure funding for an Aboriginal health agency youth scheme in Western Australia's Western Desert region following the withdrawal of WA State Government support.

The ABC reports that the manager of the local health group, Christopher Cresp, says that Caritas and another non-government organisation is expected to provide $750,000 in funding over the next three years.

State Government funding for two youth workers ended in November last year.

During the nine months the workers ran diversionary programs in remote communities like Balgo, there was a notable decrease in the cases of petrol sniffing and attempted teenage suicides. Since the funding cut, there has been a surge in crime.

"There seems to have been a lack of effort on the Government's side to want to be part of a youth strategy out here that would make a difference over time," Mr Cresp said.

The aim is to re-establish the program by the end of the year.

Labor's Member for Central Kimberley-Pilbara, Tom Stephens, says he will continue to pursue State Government funds for the youth worker program.

"I do think that the partnership between the community and the focus that the media has had to play on this region has helped sharpen the attention of the non-government agencies that have come to the party and hopefully soon will have the i's dotted and t's crossed on an agreement with the state to make this program sustainable," he said.

Meanwhile, the latest OzSpirit issue focusing on NAIDOC week, from 2 July to 9 July, reports that Caritas is also funding a project entitled "Learning My Dreaming."

Run by the Djilpin Arts Aboriginal Corporation, the project is an initiative of the Wugularr (Beswick) community, located near Katherine in the Northern Territory.

The community aims to produce broadcast quality DVDs which record the Dreaming stories of Indigenous people from four communities in Arnhem Land.

NGOs to support Aboriginal health agency youth scheme (ABC Message Stick 20/6/06)
OzSpirit 2006 NAIDOC week

Pallottine Scholarship for Notre Dame Broome education students (CathNews 28/4/05)
Kimberley bishop warns Govt on cannibis tolerance (CathNews 11/4/03)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Modern doctors working with traditional healers (ABC Kimberly WA 9/6/04)
Caritas Australia

21 Jun 2006