Making a Difference to Others – Wugubank News

Lachie Swayne, Year 9, was our guest speaker at School Meeting this week. Lachie spoke about the Year 8 Courage Project that he created last year. Lachie’s idea was to support the Wugularr community by collecting shoes that could be worn for a variety of uses – mostly runners and footy boots. Several large bags were delivered to the community in late January. These shoes have been gratefully received by the community because at this time of the year (wet season) a disease, Melioidosis, is prevalent.  

Melioidosis is predominately a disease of tropical climates, especially in Southeast Asia and northern Australia where it is relatively unknown but widespread. People can get Melioidosis through direct contact with contaminated soil and surface waters. Often this is through abrasions in the feet. Therefore, wearing shoes is vitally important at this time of year during the wet season. So, Lachie’s shoes arrived in the community just at the right time!

Sadly, there are a number of people who are presently suffering from Melioidosis in the Katherine region. One of the Wugularr students in Year 1 has been in Darwin hospital recuperating from the disease since early January. The disease penetrated his joints, so Nemo had surgery and is now having physio to enable him to walk once again. He has been a very unwell little boy. We are hopeful Nemo will be able to return to the community and school in a few weeks. Our Year 6 students loved working with Nemo when they were at Wugularr last year and he has been visited regularly by Wugularr teachers, Charlotte, Maddy and Danny. I was pleased to hear recently he is now recovering well. Coincidentally, when visiting Nemo, Charlotte bumped into Salwyn’s younger half brother who is in Darwin hospital for the same reason. (Salwyn has participated in the Wugubank Partnership since 2009 and was a Woodleigh Year 12 graduate last year). We wish both boys a speedy recovery.

We also thank Lachie for the creation of his Courage Project that has made such a difference to the Wugularr Community.

We are looking forward to the next group of Wugularr children joining us during Cultural Diversity Week. Wugubank is always an exciting time when we visit each other’s communities. As usual, they will be from Years 5 and 6 and will stay with volunteer Year 6 families. The details of their arrival have not been confirmed at this stage due to a delay in funding. I have been liaising with Wugularr School Principal, Stephen Hill and the National Indigenous Australians Agency, the government organisation supporting us with the distribution of funds. We are all very hopeful it will come through. I am most grateful to our local member and Federal Minister the Honourable Greg Hunt for his involvement in supporting us with the sourcing of funds to continue the Wugubank Partnership.

For families new to the school, Wugubank is a partnership between Penbank, Woodleigh School and Wugularr School. 

Head of Penbank Campus – Deputy Principal, Woodleigh School