Reflecting on Reconciliation

National Reconciliation Week (NRW) is celebrated across Australia each year between 27 May and 3 June. The start and end dates commemorate two significant milestones in the reconciliation journey—the anniversaries of the successful 1967 referendum, and the High Court Mabo decision.

Well into our second Reconciliation Action Plan, participating in National Reconciliation Week is just one way SVA works towards achieving a fairer Australia for all.

This year’s theme for National Reconciliation Week was, ‘It’s time to change it up!’ It was a time for us to take some time out of our busy days and put it towards learning about our shared histories, cultures and achievements with First Australians. SVA staff participated in a series of collaborative team activities based on topics of reconciliation and Indigenous culture.

It was a week for staff to personally reflect on what Reconciliation means to them, to their colleagues, and to their work.

Here’s what we discussed during the course of the week:

Activity 1:

In your team, share a moment, a story or what reconciliation means to you.

Activity 2:

Discuss how SVA has contributed to reconciliation. Share an example that demonstrates how our work has an impact, be this a project, a venture, a conversation or a new connection.

Activity 3:

Discuss and explore Australia’s First languages; through sound recordings, graphics, video or the written word.

As one team noted in their response to Activity 2, SVA has been a significant player in AIME’s success. From humble beginnings in 2005 – with 25 Indigenous high school students (mentees) and 25 volunteer university students (mentors) – AIME now connects around 3,500 mentees with mentors across Australia.

It was an important week to bring our attention back to what we strive to do in our everyday work. The overwhelming response from staff was recognition that reconciliation is about taking assertive action, and sharing knowledge and stories with others. As it drew to a close, SVA committed to continuing the conversation, and working towards reconciliation in both a personal and professional capacity.