Social and Emotional Wellbeing of Indigenous Youth – Muru Marri Report

A discussion with The Aspiration Initiative (TAI) staff about the Muru Marri Report on the Social and Emotional Wellbeing of Indigenous Youth.
Many Indigenous young people experience circumstances that challenge their social and emotional wellbeing and limit their capacity to fulfill their life potential.
The Social and Emotional Wellbeing of Indigenous Youth report was born out of a need to systematically articulate the factors that are critical to achieving the success, sustainability and growth of programs working to support the social and emotional wellbeing of Indigenous youth.
This project offers a deeper and broader understanding of the many programs that help young Indigenous people build their strength and resilience through discovering their creativity, capability and leadership potential.

The paper includes a literature and policy review as well as detailing six in-depth case studies and distils them into four key messages that advance theory and assist policy and practice.

Dusseldorp Forum: This report is the first of its kind. Can you explain how it has helped TAI reflect on your own practice?
TAI: For a long time we have described ourselves as an academic enrichment program, knowing at the same time that the way we work with our students is actually more complex.
This is the first report that has enabled us to reflect on these broader practices and understand why the deep level of support we offer is important.
By establishing the significance of social and emotional wellbeing for Indigenous young people’s life trajectories, the report explains why the forms of support we provide has become increasingly multi-layered. We now have a better understanding of why social and emotional wellbeing is crucial to achieving educational outcomes.
Dusseldorp Forum: How has this report validated what you have been doing instinctively?
TAI: We found it validated many of our core values, practices and organisational approaches. The importance of embedding Aboriginal knowledge and ways of being, relating and doing into all aspects of the program was emphasised as was acknowledging Indigenous sovereignty and the impact of colonisation.
At TAI, Aboriginal knowledge guides how staff relate to each other and the students, how we develop curriculum, how lessons are delivered and who delivers them.
By creating an environment (the report calls it an “Aboriginal home”) programs can enjoy greater connection, resilience, resourcefulness, creativity and growth capacity – elements essential to the ongoing development of a sustainable program.
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Dusseldorp Forum: How did the report help TAI identify focus areas that will ensure you build a strong, sustainable program?
TAI: We are mid-way through a five and a half year pilot so now is a great time to take stock and reflect.
As part of this process, we have adopted a few of the report’s frameworks.
We have worked through the