This Reconciliation Week, Orange Sky recognises the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices in our community and across all lands. This year’s focus – “Be a Voice for Generations” – deeply resonates with our passion for starting conversations around our orange vans and services. 

The theme of “Be a Voice for Generations” recognises the crucial role that each of us plays in advocating for justice and equity. At Orange Sky, we understand the importance of being heard. Our mission to ‘positively connect communities’ is more than access to free laundry services and warm showers. It is about creating safe and inclusive spaces to speak and be heard. On shifts, and in offices, across many lands of Australia, we connect with and learn from powerful Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices. 

Orange Sky’s work is strengthened by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples across all sectors of our work. Our 37 services would not be where they are today without Orange Sky’s First Nations volunteers gifting their time, staff’s commitment, donors’ generosity, or our friend’s trust. 

This Reconciliation Week, we are grateful to learn from the voices of leaders and changemakers in our ecosystem. This includes Orange Sky Board Member and Dieri and Mithaka man, Keiron Lander. When asked about respectful engagement, Keiron told us, “respectful engagement is the commitment to having proper yarns with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people which is deeply rooted in laws and protocols. Now we can learn, because we are committed to learn,” Keiron said.

During the week, our staff also heard from Dr Tim White, Co-Director of RESET, learning about mental health in remote communities and for First Nations people. Orange Sky operates 13 remote services across Australia, one of which is in the North Queensland community of Aurukun. Our remote services are an integral part of providing access to Australia’s needing laundry and connection. Dr White shared with us that, “Humility is the foundation of all interactions with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and that is what Orange Sky brings to our community”.

With Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples representing three percent of the population, yet 20 percent of Australians experiencing homelessness (ABS, 2023), more work must be done. We recognise that disparities and reconciliation can only be addressed through “proper yarns” rooted in “humility” and respectful protocols, as outlined by Keiron and Dr White. Through our work and underpinned by our Reconciliation Action Plan, Orange Sky is committed to playing our part in improving access to laundry, and showers, as well as maintaining a culturally safe place to speak and be heard.

Find out more about Orange Sky’s ‘innovate’ RAP

Orange Sky's RAP