Proud Wiradjuri woman and University of Queensland academic Dr Anita Heiss has helped create original lanyard designs to raise funds for Indigenous Literacy Day.

The idea originated with Brisbane-based creator and owner of Ruby Olive Jewellery and Accessories, Skye Anderton, who pledged $10 for each lanyard sold to the Indigenous Literacy Foundation (ILF).

The different lanyard designs are based off the cover of Dr Heiss’ new book, Tiddas.

“For the month of September in support of the Indigenous Literacy Foundation, we co-designed three lanyards inspired by my novel Tiddas which features beautiful Jacaranda flowers,” said Dr Heiss.

“Within the first 24 hours of going on sale, we sold 300, that’s $3,000 to buy more books. And that makes me incredibly happy and grateful.”

Indigenous Literacy Day is an annual event held on September 3 that celebrates Indigenous language and literacy, hosted by the ILF.

The event, which is usually held at the Sydney Opera House, was held virtually for the first time via YouTube, with Dr Heiss co-hosting the event.

“There were over 4,000 [people] logged into … the event but the numbers of those watching were up around 90,000 as some logins were classrooms of school children,” she said.

“One of my favourite posts on Facebook last night was of students at Mulyan Public School in Cowra, [NSW] holding their much-loved books while watching the broadcast.”

“Seeing so many people from across country, from diverse backgrounds and age brackets was just extraordinary. My heart was quietly exploding, and I teared up a lot.”

The ILF donates culturally relevant books to schools, libraries, playgroups, women’s centres, youth centres and other organisations.

Donating to the ILF, which is completely free of government funding, contributes to the important work of the organisation, providing books to over 400 communities via our Book Supply program and Book Buzz initiative,” said Dr Heiss.

“It also means we can publish books in local languages.”

As a lifetime ILF ambassador, Dr Heiss is incredibly passionate about sharing her love of reading and providing access to books to those in remote communities.

“I love Indigenous Literacy Day because tens of thousands of people come together … to celebrate the love of language and literacy, books and reading, storytelling and culture,” she said.

“It’s a day when cultural differences disappear because we share the belief that all Australians deserve beautiful books in their own languages, and that geography and remoteness should not disadvantage already disadvantaged peoples.”

 

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The lanyards will be sold for the month of September. You can find them here: https://rubyolive.com/products/tiddas-lanyard.

You can donate directly to the Indigenous Literacy Foundation here: https://www.indigenousliteracyfoundation.org.au/.

By Grace Crivellaro