PERTH, Western Australia, 13 July 2012 - Fortescue was proud to help the Children’s Charity Network to organise a series of writing and illustration workshops in the Pilbara this year using an innovative funding method: scrap metal.
In the past 12 months more than 240 workshops were held across the Pilbara with schoolchildren ranging from preps to year 12. A group of illustrators and writers implemented the workshops and mentoring programs during visits spanning 40 days during the year.
The authors involved in the program were Paul Collins, Meredith Costain, Frane Lessac, Mark Greenwood, Marc McBride, Phil Kettle, Sally Heinrich and Leonie Norrington.
Frane Lessac, award-winning illustrator and Western Australian ambassador for the National Year of Reading, was thrilled to be involved in the program. “I enjoyed sharing my art and experiences with the children and they in turn shared their special lives with me through their own art and writing,” she said. “I love working with children who are isolated geographically in West Australia and through the generous funding provided by FMG, this was made possible."
All of the schools involved in the program received books and materials as part of the program. Tours like these are unusual in the Pilbara because of the high costs involved in bringing authors and illustrators to remote areas.
Through its scrap metal recycling initiative, Fortescue was able to provide a $30,000 grant to help the Children’s Charity Network to stage the visits. The recycling program involves worn tools, scrap metal, used batteries, cardboard and waste paper being collected from Fortescue’s operations and exploration sites before being sorted and recycled. Waste with a monetary value is sold and the monies are donated to not-for-profit organisations and charities.
The result for the school children of the Pilbara was a wonderful experience which allowed them to establish a connection between books, artwork and their creators. The sessions also encouraged them to share their own stories, inspiring creativity and increased literacy skills.
In addition, the schools involved noted an improvement in school attendance, a new sense of purpose and self-esteem among students, the emergence of some great talent and hundreds of art and written entries being made to the Young Indigenous Art and Writers Awards, to be held in Melbourne in November.