By Judith Crispin
I am working with the Warlpiri community of Lajamanu in the Tanami Desert to create an Indigenous suicide prevention app (which some of you may recall from my recent article on The AIMN; “Indigenous suicide prevention in the Digital Age“). The app will be called ‘Kurdiji’ (shield, or to protect). It takes its name from a body of Warlpiri knowledge normally transmitted as part of the Kurdiji initiation ceremonies for young people. The Kurdiji ideas have been successfully used by the Warlpiri to increase resilience and prevent suicide.
Since my article we’ve completed seven weeks of an eight week crowdfunding campaign to make this app possible. We need a big push now, in this final week (Reconciliation week!), to give people a chance to donate before the campaign ends.
Young Aboriginal people are taking their own lives at an unprecedented rate. Our campaign has proven that people all over the world are willing to stand with Aboriginal Australia and fight to prevent suicides. When we began this campaign we couldn’t have known that so many people would support the Warlpiri elders in their efforts to save Indigenous lives.
We have raised $118,134.00 in just under seven weeks, from crowdfunding and philanthropy, but we need that much again to bring the project to fruition. What we’ve raised so far is enough to start work on the app. On June 10th we will drive, four days into the desert, to Lajamanu community and begin work with the elders. We will be regularly posting images and videos from our work there.
But we won’t be able to finish the app and get it into the hands of those who need it unless we reach our target. We lose three Aboriginal lives a week to suicide and four out of five of these suicides are children between the ages of 10 and 14. The elders have an answer for vulnerable people but they need to develop their app in order to deliver it.
We’ve had some good news stories during our campaign – a $50,000 donation from James N Kirby Foundation and an international endorsement from Nick Cave (!!) helped us a lot. We’ve received donations and messages of support from Indigenous Americans from various tribes, and our current Facebook reach is round 49,000 people. We’re speaking with more philanthropists and we have a couple of big fundraising events planned, but we have a long way to go if we are to reach our target.
Your help, in spreading the word about our campaign, will make an enormous difference. You can access more information about our campaign on our GoFundMe page at www.kurdijiproject.com and on the Kurdiji web page.
This week the historic decision at Uluru opened the way toward reconciliation and treaties with Aboriginal Australia. Let’s send a message to our elders that Aboriginal lives are important. Will you help?
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