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Adult Learners’ Week,
Two outstanding community education providers from Northland will receive Dynamic Community Learning Awards during Adult Learners’ Week/ He Tangata Mātauranga, 6-12 September.
The Awards, sponsored by Mary-Jane Rivers, the McCombs-Rivers family and Alison Broad, celebrate community engagement, excellence and energy in adult community learning.
Circus Kumarani from Dargaville, Northland began in 2003 with a show involving members from two disability providers and local school children. Four groups of disabled adults attend classes weekly, as well as children, youth and community members. The group’s purpose is to provide circus skills for all ages and abilities and use these as a means to, not only support individual learning and confidence, but to break down barriers between groups.
Circus Kumarani looks for opportunities to bring all the different groups together for open stage nights, special workshops, rehearsals and shows including “Circus Infusion” 2009 involving 111 members with representatives from across the whole community.
The Kaipara District Council has included working with Circus Kumarani in its draft Long Term Community Plan, as it sees the Circus as being “of significant benefit to the community”.
Flax Roots Whānau, Rawene, Hokianga provides training in low budget digital documentary film making. It was formed to offer employment opportunities in the Hokianga area and to record the history of community members, harnessing their collective experiences.
Anyone can take part thanks to the very low fees. The course has had positive impacts on its participants and has been the catalyst for the annual Short Film Festival in Rawene, leading to some film-makers entering the International Short Film Festival. Opportunities for paid work in filming and editing have also been created. Local events have been filmed and archived, developing a storehouse of knowledge for future generations.
The courses have a strong community-based Tikanga component. Whanaungatanga promotes peer learning and support as well as mentorship within foundation-level and advanced classes.
Circus Kumarani and Flax Roots Whānau are just two of the many innovative community learning initiatives recognised throughout Adult Learners’ Week / He Tangata Mātauranga. Inspirational learners and teachers will also be honoured at award ceremonies all over Aotearoa. Each year around half a million adult New Zealanders participate in adult learning programmes.
This year’s theme 'Learn for Today and Tomorrow - E ako mō tēnei mā me āpōpō' emphasises the immediate impact of learning on the lives of adults and their communities and the way it strengthens long term opportunities especially in a time of economic uncertainty.
For more information on the Dynamic Community Learning Awards check the Adult Learners’ Week website: http://www.adultlearnersweek.org.nz
The Department of Internal Affairs Te Tari
www.community.net.nz as a community service.
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