In celebrating Australia’s NAIDOC week, a recognition of indigenous Australian culture held annually in July, the Australian Consulate in Surabaya hosted a breakfast with Australian guest of honour Julie-Ann Lambourne. Key East Java development stakeholders, including in education, were invited to attend and hear from Julie-Ann, the current CEO of enVizion – a specialised training provider for indigenous Australians.
From INOVASI, Sidoarjo teacher Harum Kawaludin attended the breakfast, sharing his experiences with Julie-Ann and representatives from the Australian Consulate in Surabaya, including Paul Zeccola.
As an INOVASI partner teacher, Harum previously participated in INOVASI’s East Java Education Stock Take in 2017. Currently, he works as a special education teacher, focusing on ways to improve inclusive education at his primary school Sawocangkring in Sidoarjo, East Java. Since 2013, Harum has overseen four primary schools with special needs children.
At the breakfast event, Harum recounted how the community around his area did not want to send their children with special needs to school because they were ashamed. Thanks to his ongoing efforts, together with other principals and teachers in his community, Harum was able to create more equal learning opportunities for children with disabilities and learning difficulties.
With the implementation of inclusive education programs in Sidoarjo, particularly in Sawocangkring primary school, the local community has felt supported and encouraged. The inclusive education model has also had an impact on nearby Wonoayu district, with other schools inspired to try the same approaches.
Harum’s shared experiences were well received at the event. According to Julie, his story is similar to her own. She explained that enVizion focuses on poverty alleviation and the motivation of people in Northern Australia to work and live full lives through the world’s first Virtual Reality Training Bus program.
Speaking of their respective programs, Harum shared some of his learning tools with Julie-Ann, targeting special needs students. In return, she shared the virtual reality films developed by enVizion for children with learning difficulties.
Said Harum, “I am happy to be invited to this activity and can meet Julie and be given the opportunity to try virtual reality tools. I seemed to be in a village in Australia and talking to the people there about their work on the plantations and farms. This tool is amazing. If I could have a tool like this as a learning media in school, it would be more fun and the lessons would be more appealing to students.”
More on Australia’s NAIDOC week
Australia celebrates NAIDOC week (National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee) every year in July. NAIDOC Week honours the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islander residents. Australia used to commemorate NAIDOC by holding cultural exhibitions and getting to know the history of indigenous Australians. The activity is closed each year with a joint photo exhibition.