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Indigenous Literacy Foundation announces three new board members

Brendan Foster -

Proud Wiradyuri yinaa woman Amara Barnes said she wanted to join the Indigenous Literacy Foundation board because First Nations children seeing their language in books was critical to self-determination.

Ms Barnes, who is an advocate for First Nations self-determination, including the preservation and practice of languages and cultures, is one of three new members to join the board, which includes Kaurareg Aboriginal, and Kulkalgal, Erubamle Torres Strait Islander man Thomas Mayo and podcaster and journalist Nicole Abadee.

"First Languages are beautifully layered and complex and add so much depth to communicating," Ms Barnes said.

"Providing access for children to books in their languages allows them to explore, practice and embed their language proficiency, protecting our languages for generations to come.

"For children, seeing their languages, stories and likeness in books is critical to self-affirmation, to ensure that our young ones grow strong and confident within their cultural identities."

Mr Mayo - a best-selling author and Assistant National Secretary of the Maritime Union of Australia – said he was passionate about literacy.

"As is the struggle for empowering Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people," he said.

"The Indigenous Literacy Foundation does both. I look forward to working with the board and the team in our Communities to continue the important work the foundation does."

Ms Abadee, who is the books writer for the Good Weekend Magazine and was heavily involved in the Yes Campaign for the Indigenous Voice to Parliament, said she wanted to be part of an organisation that put books in the hands of Aboriginal kids.

"When the opportunity came up to apply for the ILF board role it just seemed like the perfect fit for me," she said.

"I am passionate about books and reading and about equality of opportunity."

Indigenous Literacy Foundation (ILF) chief executive, Ben Bowen, said the new board members brought a wealth of experience and wisdom to the foundation

"Strong governance is critical to the ILF to achieve aspirational Community led targets to enact community literacy journeys," Mr Bowen said.

"I look forward to the opportunity to work closely with Nicole, Amara and Thomas in their capacity as ILF Board members."

ILF co-chair, Natalie Ahmat, said she was delighted to welcome three such high-calibre directors to the board.

"Thomas, Amara and Nicole bring a wealth of experience, expertise, knowledge and passion to the board that will prove invaluable in guiding the ILF as it enters a really exciting period of growth in 2024 and beyond," Ms Ahmat said.

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