Saturday, 12 September 2015

Supporting Black Women in Business: Terri Waller, SevGen and the Boomerang Bus

By Trudie Broderick, 2nd year MDP student

A few months ago I was really excited to be heading home to complete my final placement.  I can’t believe just how quickly this time has gone by. At the start of the degree, I didn’t really know what to expect or what would happen. Two years later, and I can finally see the finish line.  It’s been really nice to surround myself with the familiarity of friends and family who have been a great support over the last couple of years.  Being with them over the last stage of this degree just seemed right.
Trudie (L) and Terri Waller (R)
During my last month at home, I attended the Education is the Way Symposium held by the University of Sunshine Coast.  The Symposium discussed barriers to embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and practice into post-secondary education models. Many of these discussions inevitably diverted from post-secondary education to education for children and young people and systemic alienation and marginalization.  The solutions often revolving around the use of traditional languages and culture throughout all levels of education beginning in the home and at the early childhood stages of formal education.

While at the symposium, I heard a talk about business marketing and development.  The discussion highlighted entrepreneurial endeavours in education.  It was here that I had the opportunity to hear Terri Waller talk about her Charitable Organisation "SevGen".  Terri is a DTulua woman from the Coral Coast of Central Queensland.  It was refreshing to hear Terri talk about her bold and creative ideas around developing educational tools for First Nations kids.

SevGen is built on the concept of thinking seven generations into the future to ensure we consider the long term effects of our decisions and actions on our grandchildren's grandchildren's grandchildren. The organisation aims to address the deficit in conventional methods of teaching and education.  SevGen incorporates culture and traditional learning practices into developing attitudes to learning, and the skills and knowledges of students in the program. Recognizing the need for flexibility and the importance of experiential learning, SevGen encourages students to play autonomously in passion and with purpose always (PAPPA).

Using props such as the Boomerang Bus, educational outcomes are improved as kids learn from fun and engaging delivery of content that is rich in Indigenous perspectives and teachers also receive professional development through observing ways to embed Indigenous perspectives into learning topics and teaching practise.  I also appreciated hearing Terri talk about the importance of ensuring that SevGen operates from a business based approach operating social enterprise ventures to fund their work.  In doing so, it is able to operate without losing its perspective and the concepts fundamental to the program.  Maintaining financial independence allows SevGen to continue to function in a way that is true to its vision.

Boomerang Bus

To learn more about SevGen at:

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