An entirely volunteer based community information service operated by and for South Australian Aboriginal people has been recognised for their important contribution to the community.
The Turkindi information network, which is chaired by Ivan Tiwu-Copley was recognised by the city of Port Adelaide and Enfield recently.
“It was fantastic, you know the Turkindi Board have a passion about Aboriginal people being informed and accessing opportunities.
“I think doing that for so long, all of a sudden getting acknowledged, it’s just such a great feeling to be recognised that you’re of value to the community” said Mr Tiwu-Copley after the award.
Turkindi is a Kaurna word that means coming together and sharing information.The service has a majority Aboriginal board and provides a daily email service, as well as networking opportunities for Aboriginal people or those who work with Aboriginal people.
“What it provides is information in relation to employment, education, training, venues, Aboriginal services, Aboriginal service providers, events that go on around the place, information that is relevant to Aboriginal people, or people who are working with Aboriginal people and need to be informed about what’s there and what can be accessed” Mr Tiwu-Copley told Aboriginal Way.
The Turkindi daily emails are sent to around 1700 email addresses every day by Office Manager Mia Copley, but probably distributed even more widely, according to Mr Tiwu-Copley.
“That 1700 includes Commonwealth State Service providers, non-government organisations, education departments, schools and private email addresses right across South Australia and beyond,
“So at a guesstimate, it’s probably going out to about 3000 hits every time we send an email out, that’d be a really good guesstimate of where its hitting and you know that happens 5 – 10 times a day, with different opportunities that go out from the network” Mr Tiwu-Copley explained.
Turkindi does more than send out daily emails – it also provides a forum for sharing information and networking at regular meetings.
“Every month we have a meeting at different service providers or government department or Aboriginal association or service, anyone can come to that meeting and listen to what the service providers offer as far as services or training.
The service grew out of a professional network in the Commonwealth public sector back in the 1990s, Mr Tiwu-Copley explained.
“Well, the very early days, mid 90’s, what were called the Aboriginal Contact Officers working for Commonwealth Employment Services used to meet – they were very keen to see that Aboriginal people had a network.
“They would normally meet at lunchtime, because you really couldn’t meet during office hours or work time, because you weren’t able to actually meet and network in those days” he said.
The informal group became an association when they wrote up a constitution and held their first AGM in May 2000.
It was a volunteer effort from the start and Turkindi still operates on a volunteer basis
“Everything’s on a volunteer basis.We go to all the events, NAIDOC events, reconciliation events, represent Turkindi across all sorts of different awards that come up, Aboriginal awards, there’s always a representative of the ten board members and myself as Chair” said Mr Tiwu-Copley
“Our secretary Di Hart, for example, she’s a non-Aboriginal person that’s volunteered her time as secretary for many years, been at many events, I remember in 2008 she cooked 5000 sausages at the Apology event at the park.
“This woman has been there volunteering her time because of her passion for Aboriginal people and assisting them.She’s been doing that for all these years, we’ve made here a life member and she she’s retired but she still does the minutes and types them out and prints them up and, she’s just that passionate” said Mr Copley.
The volunteer basis of the service allows it to operate without any funding apart from a small amount it collects from some organisational and personal members.
“Last year we probably had 30 financial members, a financial member is someone that helps support the network by paying $200 a year into the network as a financial member. They get a badge and a lanyard, they can come to the Christmas dinner.But the value in that is if you posted one job advertisement in the Advertiser, you’d be paying close to that straight up” he said.
The reward comes from seeing people make connections and take up opportunities, Mr Tiwu-Copley explains
“My wife Mia I know when she gets an email back, ‘oh I got a job through Turkindi’– she gets so excited about it, we know its achieved something of value” said Mr Tiwu-Copley
Turkindi was recognised at Port Adelaide Enfield Council’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Awards 2017 in the category of “Recognition of an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander group or organisation for their contribution to the community”
You can subscribe to Turkindi daily emails at firstname.lastname@example.org
SANTS acknowledges that the land on which our office is based is the traditional lands for the Kaurna people and we respect their spiritual and cultural relationship with their country.