The remote Northern Territory Aboriginal community of Jilkminggan has been overwhelmed with national support as a social media post calling for donations received over 25,000 shares.
The clothing drive, initiated by a not-for-profit organisation Enterprise Learning Projects (ELP), based in Katherine NT, is part of a long-term vision to support the development of micro-enterprise and economic empowerment and in remote Aboriginal communities.
"We're so overwhelmed with the response so far,” comments Tanya Egerton, Enterprise Learning Projects Coordinator. “Initially it was a small drive, recently partnering with TONI&GUY Bondi Beach in the aim of collecting some garments and other resources to fund a pop-up second hand store. But within 48 hours, we've had over 25,000 shares and pledges of clothing, material and sewing machines coming in from all over Australia".
ELP was invited to the community of Jilkminggan in February to meet a group of women with ideas for business. “During the visit, people expressed their dreams and aspirations for creating a thriving community hub at the newly established Arts Centre,” recalls Egerton. “There was a strong interest in developing their existing skills in sewing and print making, as well as providing meaningful work opportunities and economic empowerment for the community's residents.”
With limited funding available, the group founded the idea of a pop-up Op-Shop, which would provide the much-needed seed funds and give the women an opportunity to experience enterprise first hand.
Helena Lardy from Jilkminggan Community Aboriginal Corporation, who has been supporting the women of Jilkminggan, commented, “I shared with our ladies what had happened on social media and there were big smiles and a bit of shock to know people from all over Australia want to support our cause.
“It was really good having ELP come out here, because everyone started thinking this is an achievable goal. I feel like something is happening - well it is and it feels like I am sharing the load with friends who can help.”
Kelly Wright from Toni&Guy’s Bondi Beach store is one of several salon owners who have spent the past few days receiving bags of pre-loved items for the pop-up store. On Monday, Ms Wright's salon received enough donations to fill her car and by the next morning the salon had received 12 more bags from seven different donors.
Tanya from ELP remarked, “Our partnering business hubs have been swamped with donations and thankfully Kennards Self Storage have kindly donated space in all major locations to help with the storage of goods from the hubs. Toll Group have come on board and are shipping from locations nationally from as far as the Sunshine Coast and Melbourne to Katherine NT.
“It’s been such a beautiful, unexpected response made possible by the people of Australia, a true showcase of the strength in unity. With such a large volume of goods, we will be able to support not only the women of the Jilkminggan community to begin their journey of enterprise learning, but surrounding communities as well.”
The Clothing Drive closed on the 31st of March, ELP are busy working with the women of Jilkminggan to set up the Op-shop for it’s official opening late April. Follow the journey online