The Wa Initiative
Wa (pronounced wah) is a word in the Torres Strait language of Kala Lagaw Ya and also in Torres Strait Creole meaning yes and we believe that through supporting education – Indigenous communities, families and students can say yes to having a positive future which leads to better outcomes for their families, community and for our nation.
We’re supporting other Indigenous foundations and not-for-profit organisations in their work in offering quality, secondary education scholarships at leading Australian boarding schools for Indigenous children from regional, rural and remote communities.
Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) shows that while there has been an increase in the grade 7 to 12 Apparent Retention Rate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students (62.4%), the percentage is still considerable lower than non-indigenous students (86%)
The initiative builds on Rork’s proud support of the Indigenous Literacy Foundation and The Literacy For Life Foundation – an Aboriginal-led charity tackling low adult literacy in Australia’s Indigenous communities.
The wa initiative is a sub fund of the Australian Communities Foundation.
Supporting the ‘Wa Initiative’
In 2021, with the help of the Canberra Raiders, we held a number of fundraising events to raise awareness and much needed funds for this cause.
Our ‘Reconciliation Series’ event held in Canberra with the Property Council of Australia, saw us raise $1,200 for the Wa Initiative through the silent Auction of a signed Canberra Raider’s jersey. This was shortly followed up with a further $1,513.58 through the 50/50 raffle contest when the Raider’s took on the Titans in Round 16 of the NRL.
Rork Projects are whole-heartedly committed to the Wa Initiative, and it is only through the support of partners, such as the Canberra Raiders, that we can achieve our goals and continue to make a difference in the lives of Indigenous youths.
At the start of 2020, the wa initiative was proudly launched at a special gathering in Brisbane. Speaking at the launch, Rork Projects' Co Owners John Paul Janke and Brian O’Rourke announced a $20,000 donation from the wa initiative to Yalari – a not-for-profit organisation offering secondary education scholarships to Indigenous children at leading Australian boarding schools
"We’re delighted to announce tonight that Rork– through the wa initiative and hopefully with the help of our networks – are supporting the Yalari. Yalari is a remarkable organisation offering secondary education scholarships at leading Australian boarding schools for Indigenous children," they said.
Since 2005, Yalari has been providing Indigenous children from regional, rural and remote communities across Australia the opportunity to receive a full boarding school scholarship for their entire secondary education.
All Yalari students are recipients of the Rosemary Bishop Indigenous Education Scholarship. Yalari’s Founding Director, Waverley Stanley AM named the scholarship program in honour of his primary school teacher who supported him in gaining a scholarship to attend Toowoomba Grammar School in Queensland.