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Dubbo, Australia -- Social Development Service for aborigines

For the sixth consecutive year, Creston College has sponsored a Social Development Service Project in Dubbo, in the central part of the state of New South Wales, where a large and quite poor indigenous population lives. The initiative was made possible thanks to the help of Reledev Australia, a non-governmental organization that offers educational and human development aid.

Although sharing aboriginal roots, the people in this area come from 57 distinct communities and family traditions. The traditional possessors of the land are the Tubbagah of the Wiradjuri Nation. During their service project, the young women from Creston College learned to appreciate the cultural heritage of the native people and the importance of respecting their legitimate traditions.

The 2009 project included a leadership course for high school students and one in nutrition for young mothers. The goal of the leadership course was to help high school girls grow in self-esteem and broaden horizons in regard to their future careers, while the mothers were taught ways of meeting the dietary needs of their children. The young women taking part in the service project saw at first hand the social problems that the aboriginal community confronts every day: alcohol abuse, domestic violence, unemployment, and a deep lack of hope. Most of the young people leave school at the age of 14.

Romana, No. 49, July-December 2009, p. 339.