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NAIDOC Week 2024

10th July, 2024
Cotton On is proud to be an Australian-born business on First Nations lands. We Acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the original custodians of the lands upon which we live and work. We pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging, and extend that respect and appreciation for the thousands of years that they have cared for and conserved this Country’s lands, waters and culture, and continue this today.

This NAIDOC Week, we’re celebrating Cotton On Foundation’s First Nations partners.

From remote North-East Arnhem Land to Wadawurrung Country in Victoria’s south, Cotton On Foundation is proud to partner with First Nations organisations that are empowering young people with the skills and support they need to succeed in their own right. Through the protection, preservation and celebration of cultural knowledge, future generations can continue to express and explore their identity while deepening their connection to community and Country.

Meet our First Nations partners

Djalkiri Foundation
Supporting Yolŋu people to lead empowered lives of meaning

‘Djalkiri’ is a Yolŋu word, meaning ‘foundation’. It’s the heart of a Yolŋu person’s identity, the thing that makes someone Yolŋu. Established by Yolŋu woman Rarrtjiwuy Melanie Herdman, Djalkiri Foundation was created to hold space, provide support and help create meaningful individualised plans for Yolŋu people to find success in their own right. Faced with the challenges of navigating two worlds, Djalkiri Foundation ensures that Yolŋu people are empowered to own their journey and shape their own future. Working alongside mentors and community Elders, programs include higher education support, wellbeing support and mentoring for personal life plans.

“If we are able to create the space for them to understand and reflect on their impact as individuals and as a Yolŋu person within their bigger community, they have the potential to walk in both worlds. To be able to understand and operate in a Western world, uphold and continue their responsibilities as a Yolŋu person, and reflect on the importance of their Djalkiri.” – Rarrtjiwuy Melanie Herdman, Manapanami (CEO) of Djalkiri Foundation

To learn more, click here.

Yirrkala School | Yirrkala

Yirrkala School is one of the few bilingual schools in Australia with an educational pathway and curriculum that supports learning in first language, Yolŋu Matha. Some of the projects COF support include wellbeing, music and creative workshops, cultural workshops and teacher training.

The Mulka Project | Yirrkala & Homelands
Exploring Yolŋu culture through music, story, art and creative expression

The Mulka Project takes place in the Buku-Larrŋgay Arts Centre and allows Yolŋu youth to participate in digital, visual, and cultural art under the leadership of community elders and external specialists. Students have access to a production house, recording studio, digital learning centre, cultural archive, and regular music workshops to help them develop creative arts skills and build confidence in expressing and exploring their identity.

To learn more, click here.

Wellbeing Program | Yirrkala
Engaging and supporting students through mentorship

The Yirrkala School Wellbeing Program aims to Strengthen students’ connection and engagement with their school and teachers. Students and their families are encouraged to connect, support one another and celebrate achievements.

Community-Based Aboriginal Teacher Education (C-BATE) | Yirrkala School & Laynhapuy Homelands School

C-BATE supports Yolŋu teachers in furthering their careers without having to leave their communities to study. Teachers can develop skills while remaining connected to their families, communities, and elders. This increases the number of qualified Yolŋu teachers working in Yirrkala School and Laynhapuy Homeland Schools while supporting the teachers in maintaining a strong sense of culture and identity.

Strong Brother, Strong Sister (SBSS) | Wadawurrung Country
Creating a strong sense of belonging through meaningful support networks

SBSS is an Aboriginal-owned and led organisation servicing Geelong and the greater Wadawurrung area. Through youth groups, mentoring and one-on-one counselling, SBSS is breaking down barriers facing young people today, advocating for the needs of their community and amplifying the voices of young First Nations people.

To learn more, click here.

The Reef Cooperative | Citizens of the Reef

A Cotton On Foundation-supported partner since 2022, The Reef Cooperative is doing incredible work to protect, preserve and restore the Great Barrier Reef.

In December 2023, The Reef Cooperative launched a new program – the Reef Intervention Training program – designed to equip First Nations Rangers in the region with sought-after experience in marine conservation and open pathways for employment within the reef conservation sector.

To learn more, click here.

Stars Foundation | Supported by Supre Foundation
Empowering Indigenous young women

Supré Foundation is committing $1 million AUD to Stars Foundation by the end of 2024. The pledge directly supports more than 400 First Nations girls and women aged 16 to 18 in the Northern Territory by positively attending school, participating in the Stars program, successfully graduating Year 12, and providing pathways for further education and employment beyond graduation. This commitment follows previous donations from Supré Foundation of more than $500,000 AUD to Stars Foundation to support 200 education places for First Nations girls and young women across 2021/22.

To learn more, click here.

Let’s give 100%

Together, we’ve raised over AUD $4.8 million to date to support our First Nations partners. Your ongoing support is the reason we can continue to partner with these amazing programs and make a difference. Grab a Cotton On Foundation item today. 100% of proceeds support projects that empower youth to thrive.

Shop Cotton On Foundation

To learn more about Cotton On’s commitment to reconciliation in Australia, click here to read Cotton On’s Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan.