16 July, 2023
A years-long partnership between Bindoon Seventh-day Adventist Church, ADRA Australia and Mamarapha College is supporting Indigenous students with their tertiary studies.
Located in Karragullen, Western Australia, Mamarapha College was established in 1997 and is part of the Seventh-day Adventist education system.
“Mamarapha College provides a unique opportunity for Indigenous people to enrol in accredited ministry and health courses,” says Pastor David Garrard, Principal for Mamarapha College. “There is no other college in Australia that offers the quality of culturally appropriate courses or Advanced Diplomas qualifications.”
But like every education establishment, the college requires funding to operate. In 2010, Pastor Ken Vogel, Associate Secretary of the Australian Union Conference at the time, and Pastor Steve Piez from the ATSIM department asked if the ADRA Op Shop Bindoon would be interested in financially supporting Mamarapha College.
“We were asked whether our church would contribute to Mamarapha College as it was here in Perth,” says Dawn Blizard, the op shop manager. “There were Aboriginals coming from all over Australia to attend and we thought it was something worthwhile we could do to help.”
The op shop is supporting the health program at the college. This program includes nutrition, hygiene, first aid, food preparation and safety, physiology, mental health, lifestyle disease, and health promotion.1
David says, “Many students have made positive lifestyle changes as a result of participating in this course and in turn have been able to help their families make better lifestyle choices.”
As part of the partnership, Mamarapha students host several church services throughout the year to share their experiences and what they are learning.
“You can see the students develop and grow during the course of their studies,” Dawn says. “It’s wonderful to see. We’re thrilled to contribute to what they’re doing.”