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You’ve got to tell the right story. It is important to get this right. It has to start with the Elders. If we don’t do it now, it will all be lost. MK Turner OAM Ampe-kenhe Ahelhe Director and Arrernte Professor

William Tilmouth, Arrernte Elder and Children's Ground Founding Chair

“We are not changing who we are as Aboriginal people. We are defined by our ancestor’s law and the land. This never changes.

We are changing the limits that have restricted and suffocated us, the shackles of poverty and disempowerment. We are changing how we think about ourselves. We are changing what and how people think about us”.

On Governance

Children’s Ground is about all the families walking together, sharing our knowledge and culture and history together. We sit down and we decide, "how can we work together to build a future for the wurdurd (children) to put their heads up for the next generation? Roxanne Naborlhborlh, Top End Cultural Governance

Kwementyaye Gorey (d), Ampe-kenhe Ahelhe Director

“Anwerne akwetethe anthurre ampe anwerne kenhe mape akaltyele anthentye akngerre. Itne apmere itekenhe-nge akaltye irreme, nhenge apmere akethe arrpenhenge apeke. Tyerrtye arrpenhe mapele kwenhe ampe nhenhe areyele mpwareme aretyekenhe. Itne aretyenhenge warrke nhenhe renhe, Ampe-kenhe Ahelhe-nge.

We’ve always been teaching our kids. They’ve always been learning on Country or wherever we are. No one has been able to see that. Now we have a chance to show them through Ampe-kenhe Ahelhe.”

On Education

Marlene Rubuntja, Senior Cultural Advisor 

“If we put their language first, it will keep their culture strong. I don’t want our children to grow up lost and to not know where they come from. They’ve got to know where they come from, and their skin name. The Elders need to tell them their story so they know.”

Teaching kids is like a garden. You go and plant your seeds. You water the garden and you wait for them to grow and then when they have grown, you stand back and they grow again. If there is a little bit of weeding to do, get the weeds out. Then the children grow up really strong. Felicity Hayes, Ampe-kenhe Ahelhe Director and Senior Arrernte Educator

Edmond Doolan, Arrernte leader, Ampe-kenhe Ahelhe Men’s and Youth team

“During Learning on Country, I was talking to one of the children about how she loves it here at Children’s Ground and wants to learn more on Country with her grandmothers. I felt very proud hearing that – proud that little children talk about what they want. They are telling us adults what they want to learn and where – on Country!”

Djaykuk Djandjomerr, Marlkawo Cultural Governance

Bolkkime birri-gerrnge wurdurd gabirri-borlbme Balanda – gen  ba gabirri-wokbimbun dja gabirri-gandihme namba. Dja gabirri-borlbme Bininj-gen man-garre gadberre.

The new generation needs to know Balanda teaching like numeracy and literacy, but it must have its own identity.

On Health

Edmond Doolan, Arrernte leader, Ampe-kenhe Ahelhe Men’s and Youth team

“Since I’ve started working at Children’s Ground, I’ve seen a lot of changes in all these children. They didn’t always wash their hands, struggled to listen to directions and sometimes wouldn’t participate in activities. Now, they are washing their hands, listening carefully and are excited and happy to participate in learning. The children are really learning how to take care of themselves and live healthy lives.”

On Employment

Natassia Gorey-Furber

“There are lots of people working with us who have never worked before, and who haven’t worked in a long time. For some children and young people, this is the first time they have seen their family work.”

I feel really supported working at Ampe-kenhe ahelhe with our elders and all the staff. It's really made a big difference to my life. Veronica Turner, Ampe-kenhe Ahelhe Director

Amanda Turner

“I’ve really learnt a lot from working at Ampe-kenhe Ahelhe from my Elders, the senior Arrernte educators who work here. I feel a strong connection with them and how they are teaching the little ones on Country.  Now I’m stepping up teaching the little ones too. They’re learning a lot about their culture and their story and it makes me so proud.”