Canberra Indigenous Group Recieves Gift from Peace Prize

Canberra Indigenous Group Receives Gift from Peace Prize

Local Indigenous group "The Connection" in Canberra, was recognised as a forward thinking, innovative project at the Sydney Peace Prize celebrations last weekend.

This year's winner of the coveted Peace Prize, Indian author Arundhati Roy, decided to award her cash prize, of $50 000, to three Indigenous projects aimed at improving the lives of Indigenous Australians.

Beth Harvey and John Van den Dungen from "The Connection" attended the award ceremony, thanks to the support of the ACT Chief Minister's Department.

Beth Harvey from the Australian Injecting & Illicit Drug Users League (AIVL) who oversees the project, said the gift could not have come at a better time.

"The gift of over $16,000.00 will be used to tide over our fledgling group until core funding is secured for the program. Some of the money has already been used to purchase basic office supplies and equipment".

"We have plans to roll over any left over money to create a special fund to assist disadvantaged high-risk Indigenous Canberrans, in consideration of Arundhati Roy and the spirit in which this money was given by her".

The Connection program also took honours last month by being the first project in the ACT to be selected for the Partnership Grant with the Foundation for Young Australians. This ensures that the doors for The Connection will remain open – at least for the short term.

The "Connection" is a peer driven Indigenous youth initiative offering peer support, education and information to their communities though peer networks. The Connection supports some of the most marginal and at risk members in the community – young Indigenous people in contact with correctional services – to gain greater control over their lives by connecting them into services and resources in the community. The centre is run by young Indigenous volunteers from Canberra, who seek positive change through direct action.

The Connection is also being considered in the current ACT Community Inclusion Fund and if successful will have the necessary funds to employ some of the young volunteers in this difficult work. It is envisaged that this will be a partnership between AIVL, the Connection and the Chief Minister's Department.

For more information contact: Beth Harvey, AIVL Project Officer on 6279 1605 or Mobile: 0438121116