My name is Mutjangga Mununggurr. I've lived in East Arnhem Land my whole life and my people, the Yolngu people, have lived here for thousands of years.
My family’s homeland community is Rurrangala. It is beautiful but it’s also remote and maintaining regular services can be tough. The nearest town is three hours away.
Our homes, our health clinic and our classroom are here on our traditional land. It is our place where our culture lives and we can teach our kids in a safe environment.
We have a problem
Our homeland community at Rurrangala is running out of funds and our school house may close. We need to keep our community alive to protect our children and our culture.
Our school is bicultural which means our kids are taught English by drawing on our traditional knowledge. This keeps our culture and our identity alive.
If our classroom closes, there will no longer be somewhere safe for our children to learn and we fear we'll lose them to the problems of bigger towns - overcrowded houses, alcohol and drugs, poor health and no future.
Education is the key to keeping our children and beautiful culture alive here in Rurrangala.
Here's what we're doing about it
Water has always been part of our culture. It is a symbol of knowledge, and a powerful link to our past. Now we are using water to protect our future.
With the help of some long-term supporters, we have decided to build a business called Arnhem Beverage Company. We plan to bottle the pure water from the natural spring on our land and sell it across Arnhem Land and around Australia.
This Knowledge Water will give the people of our region a healthier alternative to sugary drinks and it will give people in the rest of Australia a taste of our culture.
Knowledge Water will also create real, long-term jobs and make our community self-sufficient without relying on welfare. And eventually, we plan to use our profits to train Yolngu people as teachers which is the key to keeping our culture alive for generations to come.
All our approvals and plans are in place and we are in discussions with a view to locking in a future supply agreement with our first big retailer, ALPA. The ALPA store network serves remote communities across Arnhem Land, the Northern Territory and Far North Queensland.
Now we are ready to start work on building our bottling facility. But to meet our schedule we need to begin before the 2018 Dry Season starts.
Every dollar actually makes a difference to us
To get started, we need to raise $80,000 to help us prepare the construction site.
This money will be used to employ Yolngu people to clear and level the site then erect fencing so we will be ready to begin major construction when the dry season arrives. It will also allow us to put a deposit down on the solar energy system that will power our business.
Of course, crowd funding is just one part of our business plan, but it gives us the momentum we need to secure other funding from government and investors. Your support will help send a message that this is something that must be done.
By funding Knowledge Water, you are helping us take our most important first steps towards creating Yolngu jobs, supporting Yolngu education and making our community self-sufficient.
And we want to thank you for it
To say thank you for your support, every contributor will have their name featured on our Knowledge Water website.
And for generous donations $50 and over, we will send you a high quality digital print of an original Yolgnu artwork.
A bit more about the project...
You can read more about the history of my people, how we've used education to adapt to a different culture without being overwhelmed by it, and how we're still doing that by creating Knowledge Water on our website - knowledgewater.com.au