Coming from the Top End to the snow
THERE is one very excited group of children about to hit the slopes of Mt Buller - and they are coming all the way from Manyallaluk - Northern Territory.
Manyallaluk is a small Aboriginal community located roughly 500km south east of Darwin in the Northern Territory.
Stephanie Baker is the teacher of grades 3/4/5/6 - and has connections with the Mansfield district.
Stephanie’s mother and father live in Mansfield and it was Stephanie’s idea to bring her class to visit the snow.
There are a total of 22 students in the school of which Stephanie teaches 10.
To enable the children to make such a long trip Stephanie said they have to raise the money to help the class fly to Melbourne to see the snow for the first time.
“Life as an Aboriginal child growing up in a remote community can be very isolating,” Stephanie said.
“The community has no mobile phone or television reception and all the water is pumped from the natural spring.
“This kind of isolation means that my students have very little understanding and real life experiences outside the community.
“The idea (for the trip) started because we were learning about igloos, and the kids had never heard of one, so we learnt about ice and snow,” she explained.
“Then we thought it would be a good idea to let them try and see snow.”
Living in a community where ac- cess to a main road is via a 35-kilometre stretch of gravel and red dirt, many of the students will experience air travel and the hustle and bustle of city life for the first time.
“I know that our trip to Mansfield and Melbourne will be a story they will retell for the rest of their lives, and it may also help them to one day venture beyond their remote home so that they might learn skills to enhance the well-being of those who live in Manyallaluk and similar communities.
Manyallaluk students are planning a 10 day trip from the July 22 to August 1.
They will stay in Mansfield at the Bakers’ home and travel to Melbourne to see an AFL football match, visit the Zoo and the Museum as well as spending time in the snow at Mt Buller.
“All of these experiences will be a first for my students, but the thing they are most excited about is going on a train,” Stephanie said.
Stephanie has called for help in making even the smallest of difference to the lives of these beautiful, funny, intelligent kids.
“It would be to show them that there is a world outside their community and that they are a valued member of Australian society,” Stephanie said.
“In 10 days you could help me plant the seed of possibility that they have the potential to travel, study and one day maybe even learn to ski.
“These students deserve the opportunity to experience the wonders of their own country,” Stephanie said.
For more information about supporting the students on their snow adventure, email stephanie.baker@ ntschools.net.
TRAVELLING SOUTH: Manyallaluk students swap school for snow.