This week is ‘Indigenous Round’ across the AFL Cairns competitions, and we are delighted to announce a formal partnership with AFL Cape York House Foundation.
Far North Queensland has the highest population of Indigenous Australians per capita in the country. Approximately 90% of Indigenous children must leave their communities to complete their education. However, homesickness and cultural and social disconnection often prevent this from occurring and most struggle to finish their education.
AFL Cape York House Foundation helps build positive futures for Indigenous young people from Queensland’s most remote communities by supporting education and wellbeing programs at AFL Cape York House. AFL Cape York House has created a Model of Care that enables young people to complete their education in a safe, culturally appropriate, ‘home away from home’ environment. With a focus on individual social and emotional wellbeing, children can go to school, be comfortable, interact with their peers and learn. In 2022, AFL Cape York House achieved a year 12 graduate completion rate of 100% (compared to the national completion rate for children from very remote communities of 38%).
This partnership will see both organisations collaborate to deliver outcomes for Indigenous Australians in the community, including through raising awareness for the work of the Foundation and connections to our region and sport. AFL Cairns will also support the Foundation’s ‘Swimming the Gap’ event in September 2023.
AFL Cairns General Manager, Craig Lees, said that “this is an exciting formalisation of a very collaborative working relationship we have had with AFL Cape York and the Foundation over a number of years and will see us continue to work together for the benefit of our community.”
“This partnership is a significant evolution to the longstanding relationship between our organisations and, like AFL Cairns, we are looking to provide opportunities for young people in our programs and look forward to further collaboration in delivering positive messages and outcomes for participants,” AFL Cape York House Foundation Director Rick Hanlon said.
Indigenous Round is an important fixture on AFL Cairns’ calendar annually. This year, there will be ceremonies across the venues celebrating Indigenous culture, highlighted by ‘Dreamtime By The Sea’, a special event of matches between Cairns City Lions and North Cairns Tigers acknowledging the contribution of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander players.