A youth mentoring program in Redfern is teaching Aboriginal kids about the risks associated with COVID-19 through an activity that involves teaching them how to make their own protective masks.
The ID Know Yourself program was established by Butchulla and Gawara man Isaiah Dawe who said the mask initiative was designed to provide the program's mentors with a platform to teach precautions around transmitting the coronavirus.
Mr Dawe said the kids were involved in the entire process of making the masks from selecting the fabric and design, to sewing.
“They’re more inclined to wear the masks now because they’re so proud of them, and they’re so unique. So, they take a lot of ownership and pride in having created something different,” Mr Dawe said.
Mr Dawe said he also believed producing the masks helped to ease anxiety for members of the program.
The masks will go on sale to the public on the 28th of August and all profits generated from the sales will be reinvested into the program.
Mr Dawe said the ID Know Yourself program was a safe space to support Indigenous kids and foster a sense of belonging as they connected with their culture.
The program also provides workshops on storytelling, art classes, and cooking classes, he said.
“To some of the kids, in their own words, the program is everything to them,” Mr Dawe told NITV News.
The program currently has 20 young people aged from five to 20-years-old, with 10 more expected to join soon. They are referred to the program by government bodies, including Community and Justice Services and juvenile courts.