Music for Mutitjulu

During July, 2014, a team of seven teachers from St John’s Catholic School, travelled to the Northern Territory and had the privilege of providing a five day Holiday Program for the children and adolescents of the desert community Mutitjulu, near Uluru.

Many children in Mutitjulu have experienced loss, trauma and tragedy. Teenage suicides are also occurring at an alarming rate, with a youth suiciding every 12 to 18 months. Considering the community has a population of less than 300 people, the statistics are horrifying. A pattern is also starting to emerge, with the last three suicides occurring during school holiday periods.

The teachers provided activities and a sense of purpose for the marginalised children of this remote community and hope that providing this program on an annual basis will give the students with an outlet and an escape from the difficulties confronting their community.

“The children’s eagerness to share their knowledge, their culture and their very souls means hearts have been unexpectedly touched and for some changed forever.”

This program not only had an immediate and positive effect on the Mutitjulu community but also provided a life changing experience for the teachers, students and parents involved.

Anita Lang from St John’s Catholic School says Mutitjulu summons memories of vivacious children with restless energy and engaging smiles. “The children’s eagerness to share their knowledge, their culture and their very souls means hearts have been unexpectedly touched and for some changed forever.”

To help finance future programs, Tasmanian Catholic schools and colleges will be holding free dress days to raise funds. The team will also be holding a ‘Music for Mutitjulu’ fundraising night at the Maypole Hotel on Friday 5 June featuring musical performances from staff at St John’s; an evening sure to provide much entertainment!