The Orange Sky team is currently approaching its third leg on our remote venture, where we hope to visit as many remote communities as possible from April to June 2021. With their hearts full, washing baskets empty and the Northern Territory now in their rear-view mirror, the team now has their sights set on Cape York as they continue to grow Orange Sky’s understanding and relationships with remote communities across the country.
On board the van, Rosco is Richard Cassady; a Traditional Owner from Palm Island and Cultural Navigator for the trip. Richard has played an important role, in a similar capacity, in the rollout of Orange Sky’s Palm Island service, which is one of three remote services currently in operation across Australia.
‘More than a word. Reconciliation takes action’ is the theme for National Reconciliation Week this year, urging a reconciliation movement towards braver and more impactful action. To break it down further, we turned to Richard to ask what this means to him through the lens of a Cultural Navigator.
Taking some time out in the shade at Fitzroy Crossing, escaping the notorious Top End heat, Richard shares a candid yarn with our team about all things Reconciliation Week and the importance of creating a ‘together space’ through organisations like Orange Sky.
“Here’s the thing, mob will tell you very clearly whether there’s quality in your program or not. They’ll engage and say – hey this is absolutely great – or they’ll vote with their feet and go to the footy. So for me, when I see the level of engagement, I think Orange Sky’s doing some really great things in terms of engaging with people.
“Whether you’re a First Person in a remote setting, or someone in Perth or in Brisbane, Orange Sky is engaging with humanity without condition and I reckon that’s a pretty cool space to occupy.”
You can watch Richard’s full interview below. To learn more about how we’re supporting remote communities, click here.
Orange Sky currently operates three remote services. If you would like to support us to expand our services in remote communities, please consider a donation.
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by Chau Le
With the first leg (covering South Australia) of Orange Sky’s Remote Venture trip now complete, the team is making ground across the top end in our purpose-built van, ‘Rosco’. Orange Sky’s Program Manager Judith Meiklejohn, who is currently on location with Rosco, provides an update from their stopover in Wadeye NT, where 88 loads of washing were provided across the local community in just 12 hours.
It was dark by the time the Orange Sky Remote Venture team pulled into Wadeye after a slow, dusty, bumpy, yet beautiful drive from Katherine. Our first morning in Wadeye was met with lots of inquisitive, and almost confused looks from onlookers across the community. Many people were surprised to learn the big bright orange truck, ‘Rosco’, had washing machines on board. Better still, they were excited to learn that our team was there to provide free laundry services to anyone who needed it. What we learnt was that for many people, our arrival meant that they got a momentary reprieve from having to borrow someone else’s machine to wash. After an hour, each load would be handed back clean and warm.
It was clear that our services were in demand. There were so many requests to wash that we eventually ran out of time. In the three days we spent in Wadeye, the Orange Sky team provided 88 loads of washing, across four shifts, in three different locations. Each shift had a busy crowd from the community that gathered to organise themselves, sort washing, and yarn with each other as well as with the Orange Sky team. That is also such an important part of our service; to provide a platform to start conversations and positively connect communities in this way. It was a valuable opportunity to learn more about the Wadeye community from the residents themselves and we loved connecting and learning from them as they went about their everyday lives around us. There was such a positive vibe radiating across each shift; it left our team feeling elated at the end of each day.
There were several special moments for each of us, ranging from dancing along to Beyonce with the children and women, spontaneous games of ‘front yard’ AFL, and yarns about family, bush tucker, hunting and growing up in an ever-changing community. But one standout moment for all of us was the moment a little boy named Wilford, around 10 years old, arrived at our shift. On arrival he quickly grabbed a chair next to Richard, our Remote Venture Cultural Navigator, connecting with him instantly. While the other children got busy cleaning washing machines or playing footy, this little boy sat quietly, talking with Richard.
Wilford asked politely if he could get some washing and brought back a white basket full of clothes. He sat close by the basket to protect his belongings, and although he was a fair way at the back of the line, he did not seem worried. He sat respectfully and graciously as he waited for his turn. At one point, he silently went away to have a shower and returned clean with combed hair and dress pants on. At another point, he left to change out of those dress pants and returned to pop them in the basket to be washed.
As it neared Wilford’s turn, Nic (Orange Sky’s Co-Founder) asked about washing his shoes, noticing the white sneakers he had brought along to wash. Wilford told us that they were his funeral shoes.
It was one of those moments that stuck with us all; a realisation that this young boy clearly understood concepts that most children his age would be shielded from. We never got to see who his guardian or parent was, but to all of us, he seemed wise beyond his years. We all felt so grateful that we could help him to clean his clothing, bedding, and funeral outfit. We vowed to be a little bit more like him; wise and gracious. It was experiences like this that made it more difficult to leave Wadeye when it was time to pack up the truck to head for our next destination.
The Orange Sky Remote Venture has so far been an incredible experience for which I am personally very thankful to be a part of. We have driven across some of Australia’s toughest terrain, surrounded by stunning natural beauty to reach some truly remarkable remote communities. Along the way, we have met some extraordinarily committed service providers, talented artists and storytellers, inspirational leaders and strong people who are connected to land, community, and culture.
It is astounding to me that in 2021, there are still people in such a wealthy country like Australia who do not have their basic needs met – things like clean clothing and bedding. It is alarming to understand first hand that access to regular and reliable laundry services is out of reach for many people in remote Australia.
Orange Sky has made a commitment to work alongside as many remote communities as possible to be part of the solution. We can’t wait to visit and check in with more communities to learn and understand how we can best help, now and in the future.
You can hear more about Wilford’s story in the video below, with footage shot by the team during their time in Wadeye.
Reconciliation is important to me because without it, reaching an equitable and harmonious Australia will be less likely. The beauty and strength of our country needs to be reflected for and among all its people, not only some.
For me, reconciliation means acknowledging and doing our bit to right the past. It’s about coming together, getting to know one another and working alongside each other now and into the future.
It’s about keeping equity in the front of our minds at all times, which means sometimes we should preference others voices over our own or step aside to let others come forward.
While Orange Sky’s focus is on providing a space for connection through our laundry and shower services, we are committed to providing employment opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. It’s important that we work alongside employees to provide a locally appropriate service and help to improve health and well-being outcomes for the community as a way of working towards reconciliation.
During Reconciliation Week and beyond, I encourage you to learn and grow your understanding by reading, reflecting and talking with others, and acting at all times to build an equitable and positive future for all.
At Orange Sky, we’ll continue to provide ways for staff and volunteers to learn, grow and act on reconciliation to help improve outcomes for Australia’s First People.
Here’s some resources we’re diving into:
Learn more about Reconciliation Week
by Megan Groundwater
The truth is, there are a thousand different ways to do it! We’ll give you a toolkit with some fun and out of the box ideas, so it won’t even feel like you’re hosting a fundraiser. We’ll also be here to support you the whole way through and keep you going when you just don’t think you can wear those socks for a third day in a row!
You’ve hooked people in with your clothes, but what next? A big part of experiencing homelessness is feeling disconnected from the community, and that why conversations are so important. The idea is that your outfit starts conversations – and in turn, raises some much needed funds for Orange Sky.
Your choice of clothing is totally up to you. You can keep your kit on in one of our event t-shirts (that we’ll send you when you sign up), the comfiest outfit in your cupboard or something that screams ‘I am doing The Sudsy Challenge!’ like a space suit or tutu.
Receive an impact report quarterly, detailing how your partnership has positively impacted the community (ie number of washes, showers and conversations)
As National Partner, we can create customised partnership T-shirts for your team, promoting our engagement and joint branding. These can be our uniform for joint events, fundraising and promotion.
At Orange Sky HQ, we will provide a dedicated co-working space for your team. This is an area for your team to feel part of the Orange Sky journey, collaborate on hack-a-thons and deliver customer meetings that highlight the partnership.
Vehicle Partners support the capital costs (33 percent to 100 percent) of Orange Sky’s laundry ($110k), shower ($110k), hybrid ($140k) or remote vehicles ($140k), for which they receive partnership benefits in return as outlined in Partnership Benefits matrix.
National Sponsors commit to donating between $200k – $500k p/a for a minimum term of three years, for which they receive partnership benefits in return as outlined in Partnership Benefits matrix.
Principal Partners are businesses, individuals, institutions or organisations who commit to donating $500k and above p/a for a minimum term of three years, for which they receive partnership benefits in return as outlined in Partnership Benefits matrix.
State partners commit to donating between $100,000 – $200,000 p/a for a minimum term of two years, for which they receive partnership benefits in return as outlined in Partnership Benefits matrix.
An exclusive once a year Orange Sky event that brings together our network of partners, innovators and change makers in the business community. It’s an opportunity to network and collaborate with like-minded individuals as we tackle an Orange Sky challenge and hatch new ideas that will help Orange Sky continue to positively connect the community.
We will work with your corporate and social responsibility team to create a workplace giving program.
Working with your Orange Sky Partnership Manager, we will work to create a launch that encompasses your network, stakeholders, community, staff or all of the above. We have had immense impact in the media, industry and community through our creative approach to raising awareness – let us take you on that journey.
Through your unique partner portal login, you will also receive an Annual Impact Report which includes recognition of the partnership, statistics of contribution and how it has impacted the community.
We will supply you with ‘Proudly supporting Orange Sky’ or ‘Proudly supporting www.orangesky.org.au’ logos for your company marketing or event material.
Download a monthly newsletter with details on the direct impact that your contribution is making in the community. Your electronic report will arrive in the form of a co-branded email; a great tool to share with your staff, stakeholders and customers allowing them access to the most up to date information on how you are supporting our friends doing it tough.
Every partnership is a relationship and our mission at all levels is to stay connected. That is why your business will be assigned an awesome Orange Sky manager to keep you up to date on the partnership, our joint engagement and your impact. It’s important to us that you understand just how important you are! We will work with you and support you to identify and create beneficial opportunities to continue to maximize the relationship.
A regular communication on Orange Sky news, events, impact and growth. Can be sent to any number of your staff, customers, partners or community.
Access to leadership team and Orange Sky founders for professional development days, networking events or ideation sessions.
Tailored to your messaging needs, a video capturing our joint partnership produced by the Orange Sky creative team. This case study is a great tool to for internal or external use (ie. end of year reports, company functions, website, social promotion, reception loop etc)
Principal Sponsors are businesses, individuals, institutions or organisations who commit to donating $500k and above p/a for a minimum term of three years for which they receive sponsorship benefits in return, as outlined in Sponsorship Benefits Matrix.