By Tristan Harley, CEO of Emu Trekkers.
It is amazing to see how far Emu Trekkers has come since launching its first walks in September 2017. As Australia’s first not-for-profit outdoor tour operator run entirely by volunteer guides, we have made a great start in the tourism market and are already beginning to make a difference to kids in need.
Emu Trekkers is based on a simple idea that it is possible to offer unique tourism experiences in the natural environment that authentically connect visitors to the local community, raise awareness about important social issues, and in a small way help those communities by providing funding and assistance.
Our overarching mission is summed up in our four-word motto - ‘Hike Australia. Help Kids’. But in everything we do, we try to go further, to inspire others to make a difference, and to think about how they can positively support the communities where they are based.
Emu Trekkers is proud to announce that the proceeds raised from the treks in 2017 will be going to the amazing charity, the Indigenous Literacy Foundation. This Australian charity focuses on improving literacy rates among remote and very remote Indigenous communities in Australia.
Being able to read opens so many doors, but unfortunately, according to the 2017 Closing the Gap report, only 42% of Indigenous Year 5 students in very remote areas in Australia are reaching national minimum reading standards, compared to 94% for non-Indigenous students.
What we love about the Indigenous Literacy Foundation is that they not only give children thousands of new, culturally appropriate books - with a focus on early literacy and first language- but they also run programs to inspire the communities to tell and publish their own stories. Many of these stories, such as Nginingawila Ngirramini – Our Story, are written by the students themselves in their first language and English. These stories focus on their heroes, sacred places and favourite memories.