Good news and sad news ... We urgently need your help!

Last time we wrote to you, we told you the new Creative Technologies Centre would soon be opening at Haasts Bluff.
 

Well today’s good news is that the Centre is now open and already beginning to train up young indigenous people.  Centre Managers, Andy & Kathy Sorenson, are in residence at Haasts Bluff and they have started renovating to get the building ready to function fully as a training centre. 
 
Several very talented musicians have been discovered lately.  Since the Centre opened, they have been writing songs and Andy is already starting to record their indigenous music. It is our goal to see these talented musicians equipped to sell their recordings and start them on the road to financial independence.
 
However, the Centre still needs quite extensive work.  As you can see from the photos above and below, there are no desks or proper chairs.  Plus, we still need storage cupboards for equipment and the building needs to be lined and dust-proofed. 

This is where you can help!  

To carry out the necessary work and buy furniture,
we need to raise about $10,000.

 
We have started a My Cause Campaign to raise the money for renovations and equipment.  Will you help by donating funds so we can transform this building into a safe, well-equipped training centre?
 
You can go here to donate through the My Cause campaign …
 
… or you can donate directly through our website here.
 
If we raise these funds quickly, your next Walk a While newsletter will deliver even more good news.
 
Whatever you are able to give will help make a difference in the lives of young indigenous Australians living in very remote communities. They don't have access to the technology that most Australians take for granted - but with your help we will change that!
 
Well that’s the good news, but ...

... unfortunately, we also have some sad news to share with you.
 
Two people who are very important to Walk a While - and to the dream of our indigenous friends to Raise a Cross in the heart of our nation, are battling cancer.
 
Sid Anderson, one of the elders from the Haasts Bluff area, has advanced lung cancer.  And Tim Morris-Smith, one of our fabulous, hard-working Directors, was recently diagnosed with renal cancer, which has spread to other parts of his body.  Both are undergoing treatment and people all over the world are praying for a miracle for them both.
 
If you believe in the power of prayer, please pray for both Sid and Tim.  We believe in the God of miracles!
 
But there is something else you can do as well ...
 
Both Sid and Tim earnestly want to see the Cross completed.  So this has now become a matter of extreme urgency.
 
Will you help by donating funds to complete the Cross and see it erected on top of Memory Mountain?
 
You can donate to the Cross project right here.

We urgently need your help for both of these crucial issues. 

Please give what you can.  And please spread the word far and wide, encouraging others to give what they can.

Together we will see the Cross raised in the heart of our nation.  And we will see young indigenous people being trained in the creative arts, so they can tell their stories and have real hope for the future.

Thank you for being part of his amazing journey.  We are extremely thankful for your financial contributions.

Many thanks,

Ken & Pam Duncan
on behalf of Walk a While Board of Directors

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The End of The Beginning

We continue to walk with the people of Haasts Bluff to empower their vision, their creativity, their hope ... This update brings you up to date with this inspiring journey ....

We continue to walk with the people of Haasts Bluff to empower their vision, their creativity, their hope ... This update brings you up to date with this inspiring journey ....

Last weekend I watched the recently released film about Winston Churchill called The Darkest Hour. This inspiring film charts his journey at the start of the Second War and paints a picture of courage, leadership and conviction in the face of challenge. 

Churchill whilst imperfect, had many sayings that can encourage us, and encouragement is what we need as we continue to engage in a struggle to secure real and sustainable change for the communities we are called to work with.

We’ve titled this newsletter “The End of The Beginning” as there is a sense we are now at a watershed in our journey, a real turning point. It was Churchill who said….

“Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But perhaps it is the end of the beginning”.

So here's our news and our challenge as we venture into the next step of this life changing Walk A While journey. We need your help more than ever at this stage as we push forward to complete some important milestones that we know many of you have been walking with us to achieve for many years ....

Traditional Owners and some of the young people whose lives are being changed, in front of the proposed Creative Technology Centre.

Traditional Owners and some of the young people whose lives are being changed, in front of the proposed Creative Technology Centre.

Our Conviction

As every week passes we see more hopelessness and tragically more young people taking their lives in remote communities. Government and community leaders are looking for a new way, and we know that we can and do help. 

Our conviction is that by truly empowering the gifts, vision and hope of people we can bring meaning and change. To do this we know it's all about people and not programs, about relationship not regulation, and we've got proof in the story of Shane we share later in this newsletter.

Shane

On our recent visit we were so inspired by the creative gifts of Shane (pictured left above), a local we've known since he was quite young. He's in the group picture too. Shane like all of us has gifts, but without people to encourage and envision us, those gifts don't emerge. We've walked with Shane for a long time and today his compositions are an inspiring sound. One day when the centre is ready we'll be able to record and share them with you.

The second group photo was from the early days of Walk A While. Shane is in this picture, third from the left at the back. Inspired by something he'd never seen, he is now able to create music that no one else has ever heard. Walk A While works because we're committed for the long term.

The Cross

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We have now completed the track to the top and are ready to finish this amazing project. Local people are keen for it to be completed and to see people visit and social enterprise grow, which will in turn bring transformation to so many.

We could be as close as 6 months away from finishing the work now if we can raise the final funds needed. We are in a position now to complete the foundations, but funding is still needed for the final stages and to make ready for visitors from near and far.

The impact of this project is significant with global interest that will bring hope both to visitors and to the community whose vision it is. Over coming months there'll be even more news to keep you informed of when you too can visit, and how the good news of this completed project will be shared around the world.

Our Courage

Both the Creative Technology Centre and The Cross Project are now close to completion, however both have encountered more obstacles than we could have ever anticipated.

We have now completed the geotechnical survey for The Cross and are in the final stages of lease agreements for the Creative Technologies Centre. 

The Cross

Both the Creative Technology Centre and The Cross Project are now close to completion, however both have encountered more obstacles than we could have ever anticipated.

We have now completed the geotechnical survey for The Cross and are in the final stages of lease agreements for the Creative Technologies Centre. 

We have learnt a lot about the complexity of negotiations with multiple agencies who are involved with remote communities. This complexity is much like the challenge of building on heavitree quartzite which is exactly what we have to do to build The Cross!

These factors mean that we do need more funds to complete The Cross and to bring the creative Technology Centre on line. The Cross itself needs a further $290,000, and to enable visitors to come we need a further $100,000 for some basic amenities, water supply and shelter from the sun. 

Your Help

Both The Cross and The Creative Technology Centre are interconnected and empower the culture, faith, creativity and sustainability of the people of this inspiring area. This is a truly radical and unique initiative given its long term approach.

We have walked for more than fifteen years with our friends out here and we really need your support now to help us help them  see this critical stage of their vision realised. When we do, the eyes of the world will be upon even more success stories like Shane.

In total our new fundraising target to complete this critical phase is $500,000. This will enable us to establish and staff an excellent Creative Technologies Centre and complete The Cross. It also includes funds that will enable us to continue our work to see sustainable social enterprise emerge and long term change arise. Will you help?

Please remember all donations are tax deductible. Your donation is an investment in sustainable change and in sending a message to the world of the good news that hope and real change is indeed possible!

And Finally ...

If you'd like to share your support for Walk A While and in particular our project to support the vision of local people to raise a cross on Memory Mountain, these acrylic desktop blocks make a great gift or talking point. They're available on our website, just click the link below.

These are so good for any desk top and great reminder of this inspiring project ...

These are so good for any desk top and great reminder of this inspiring project ...

Thanks so much for your support and for reading our latest news. If you need any more info please don't hesitate to contact us. We love receiving your comments and support.

Cheers & God Bless,

Tim Morris-Smith
On behalf of the Walk A While Foundation Board and the Ikuntji community of Haasts Bluff. 

Easter 2018 Update

Easter 2018 Update

Easter is a great time to think about new beginnings, about opportunity and hope. We are thankful you're on this journey with us as we look to bring hope and opportunity through our work in the Northern Territory.

Ken Duncan and all our Walk a While team send warmest Easter greetings as we provide you with an update on our work at this special time of year. 

Haasts Bluff Community Update

Haasts Bluff Community Update

Last month Tim Morris-Smith had the privilege of visiting the Haasts Bluff community again. This time he departed from Melbourne, where he met up with a great photographer, Elliot Gray. Elliot is an amazing and gifted mentor to many young people in his home in Victoria, he has experience in overseas aid and he has a real heart for our work. He was keen to visit Haasts Bluff and bring his expertise as we look to develop our digital literacy and creative projects with the community.