THE founders of the Wanta Aboriginal Corporation shed some light on their work to improve Indigenous education during a recent meeting of the St Therese Catholic Primary School’s school advisory committee.
Matt and Clare Smith, who have lived in Torquay since 2016, are the founders of Wanta Aboriginal Corporation, a non-profit organisation that runs school engagement programs in remote Indigenous communities in the Northern Territory.
The couple identified a significant gap in education outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous students in remote communities of Australia.
In October 2013, they set up the first Wanta Academy in the remote community of Yuendumu, located 270km north-west of Alice Springs.
In 2015, they established Wanta Aboriginal Corporation and took on the management of the federal government’s Remote School Attendance Strategy RSAS program.
“Wanta” is the Warlpiri word for the sun and was agreed to after consultation with the Yuendumu community. The name represents new beginnings and brighter futures for Indigenous youth living in remote communities.
The Wanta Academy program aims to increase school attendance and improve educational outcomes and youth transition to vocational opportunities, through the provision of sport, recreation and cultural activities.
Because of its success, Wanta has opened a further seven Academies in the Northern Territory and manages three other RSAS programs.
Mr and Mrs Smith’s eldest child is in Grade 1 at St Therese and the couple is looking to establish a formal relationship between the Torquay school and the remote schools they service.
For more information, head to wanta.org.au or email email@example.com.