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Non-Profit Organisations Trailblaze in the Technology space to connect to First Nations communities.

When it comes to technology, not all communities have equal access. But a group of four not-for-profit organisations across Australia are working to bridge that gap for First Nations communities.

The past few years have been transformational, but amidst the transition, there's been some truly inspiring work being done as part of the First Australians Digitisation Fund. The goal of the program is to use technology to connect First Nations communities and promote cultural awareness, education and wellbeing. And for the participating organisations - Stars Foundation, Clontarf Foundation, KARI Foundation, and Indigitek - the impact is already being felt.

Take STARS Foundation, for example. With the help of the funding, they've developed an online "Alumni Engagement Platform" to inspire and mentor young First Nations women through their education journey. It's a powerful tool that will help drive gender equity by enhancing visibility of STARS alumni and ensure a positive pathway through employment, further education or training.

“A growing cohort of educated and empowered First Nations young women will be the role models and leaders for the next generation of First Nations youth. The platform will enable graduates to connect with current Stars students, sharing their stories, journeys and achievements and inspiring many more Stars graduates of the future,” said Andrea Goddard, STARS Foundation Executive Director.

KARI Foundation, meanwhile, has developed a mental health app co-designed with First Nations peoples and community groups. The culturally-appropriate app will use storytelling and in-app wellness indicators to guide access to support services and information to break down barriers and stigma of mental health in Aboriginal communities.

“Once it’s released, we cannot wait to see the response; seeing downloads go from 10 to 100 to 1000; that’s real goal. Knowing that people are using it and getting the feedback, that is the real cause of celebration,” said Cain Slater, KARI Foundation Chief Operating Officer.

Clontarf Foundation is using robotic process automation (RPA) to automate data entry within its Academies. The project will allow its mentors more time to develop and deliver activities focused on increasing First Nations participation and engagement in education geared towards positive employment outcomes.

“Good technology should really sit in the background and shouldn’t impact the work that we need to do in a way that it takes us longer to do the tech, it should free us for the purpose that we are there for. And our purpose is about our engagement with the boys,” said Jane Conder, Clontarf Foundation Chief Financial Officer.

Finally, Indigitek is providing alternate learning models or flexible options for First Nations communities to help build digital skills and literacy and open up new job opportunities in STEM related fields through their community-designed, community-led robotics and technology education program.

These organisations are working tirelessly to make a difference, and it's already paying off. Thanks to their efforts, more First Nations communities are getting access to the technology they need to thrive. It's a heartwarming story of community, resilience, and the power of technology to bring people together.

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