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Commission WEBSITE: Healthy Community Projects

Rural Health examples

Desert Acrobats

Image: Saltwater kids meet Desert Kids. Yough people enjoying what they have learnt from the Desert Acrobats at Ridell Beach, Broome. Photo by Michael Hutchinson


Saltwater kids meet Desert kids

Young People enjoying what they have learnt from the Desert

Acrobats at Ridell Beach, Broome. Photograph by Michael Hutchinson

On all

the remote communities we visited ... Aboriginal youth excelled in physical

skills and naturally gifted abilities. By setting achievable challenges

the youths were able to feel good about themselves, their abilities, and

their potential. We see this aspect of our activities as crucial in the

building of self-esteem and having very important flow on effects in schooling.


Desert Acrobats was

set up by the Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Services Council (KAMSC). It

aims to enhance the emotional, social and spiritual wellbeing of individuals

and the communities in which they live. The project promotes and raises

self-esteem and confidence in the young people involved.

What the Program does

The Desert Acrobats

teaching team drives to remote communities of the Kimberley and spends

a week in each community teaching the young people of the community gymnastics,

contemporary Aboriginal dance, theatre, sports and performance.

Schools and communities

visited in 2000

  • Beagle Bay

    Community School

  • Fitzroy Crossing

    High School

  • Fitzroy's outlying


  • Gibb River Community


  • Mt Barnett Community


  • Bidyadanga Community


What makes it successful

Marie Cox, Coordinator

of the KAMSC Health Promotion Unit, says the positive feedback received

from the communities visited by Desert Acrobats is an indicator of the

success of the Program.

Children that do

not regularly attend school will be present at the time Desert Acrobats

arrives in their community. We observe when we next visit the community

that the children are anxious to show us what they have learnt and done

in our absence.

Difficulties encountered

The Program can only

be delivered in the early dry season. When the wet starts, the roads become


Marie Cox adds that,

"another difficulty experienced by Desert Acrobats is that two trainees

are required at all times as it is hard to deliver the Program with one


Also, funding has

to be applied for each year, as the Program does not receive recurrent

funding. Sita Fitzgerald, a project officer for the project, says this

"makes it very difficult to plan too much in advance, especially if you

have a long term vision and wish to expand."

Funding sources

KAMSC is the main

source of funding for the project.

The project also

receives financial support from:

  • Office of Youth


  • Country Arts
  • Gordon Reid

    Youth Foundation

  • National Rural

    Health Alliance.

William Apparel &

Co supplies sports clothing for the project.