More high school students in Dubbo will have access to a pair of empowering cultural programs, thanks to the NSW Government’s Transport Access Regional Partnership (TARP) program.
Member for the Dubbo electorate Dugald Saunders said the NSW Government was helping fund travel for disadvantaged youth to participate in Taronga Conservation Society’s (Taronga) Birrany (young man in Wiradjuri) and Malungan (young woman) Business Youth Programs.
Birrany and Malungan are funded through the NSW Office for Regional Youth and Department of Education.
“Run by Indigenous people for Indigenous people, these programs are empowering our youth to share their cultural knowledge, and build aspirations for the future beyond school,” Mr Saunders said.
“Taronga Western Plains Zoo has been passionate in delivering the program, but getting students to and from the school was the final hurdle, which we’re proud to have helped them overcome.”
The Birrany and Malungan Business Youth Programs aim to encourage better engagement, improve mental health, wellbeing and self-esteem for students through culture-specific learning.
Students taking part in the program participate in activities including barista training, cultural camps, animal handling training, as well as presentation skills development and horticulture activities.
Taronga Cultural Programs Coordinator Kirsty Dundas-Hargraves said programs like this supports Taronga’s strategic commitments to Culture and Community, but more importantly the local Indigenous community in Dubbo.
“This program will see us offer 120 participants the chance to form important connections to wildlife and explore pathways into the conservation sector,” she said.
“It will allow Indigenous Youth to connect to Country through our conservation programs for our native species.”
The program runs for 18 months and will finish in July 2023. More information is available here.