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Families needed to host Indigenous students

Briefs

Cite as: December 2012 86 (12) LIJ, p.18

The Kajji Foundation is looking for Melbourne families to provide homestay accommodation for Indigenous students in 2013.

The Foundation encourages and supports young Indigenous students from the Northern Territory to explore their potential by coming to Melbourne to attend school, play football and live with a local family.

Kajji Foundation principal trustee James Woods said hosting a student could be a rewarding and life-changing experience.

“Lawyers are sometimes the butt of jokes about greed but my association with the Kajji Foundation has only revealed a depth of generosity,” Mr Woods said. “Two out of our four initial trustees and the majority of our home-stay families have included legal practitioners.”

Mr Woods works as the managing director of eCollect.com.au – a debt recovery business – and also as consultant solicitor with E C Legal, which is a commercial litigation practice working in conjunction with eCollect.

He said the Foundation’s beginnings in 2008 lacked “all the usual formalities that might be expected by lawyers”.

“There was nothing noble about our motives when we first invited some young Indigenous footballers to come to Melbourne from Tennant Creek for the 2008 football season,” he said. “ We just wanted to field a competitive football side for our club – St Kilda City Junior Football Club – but we quickly saw the opportunity for cultural exchange between the Melbourne and Tennant Creek players.”

Two Melbourne schools, St Michael’s Grammar and CBC St Kilda, agreed to provide scholarships for the students.

In 2009, five students from Tennant Creek High School were hosted and the Foundation was formally established. During 2010, seven students took part and in 2011, four students spent the school year in Melbourne.

“During 2012, there was one student who appears set to pass his VCE,” added Mr Woods. “We think we are making a difference.”

For more information contact Mr Woods on 0412 888 800 or email james.woods@eCollect.com.au.

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