At the end of 2019, Harris and her mum visited The Kimberley in Western Australia where they connected with the Mowanjum, Imintji and Kupungarri people. To put into perspective just how remote these groups are, Harris says, “One of the communities, when we got there last year, they’d only just gotten Wifi.”
“The closest doctor is maybe a nine-hour drive away so if someone is ill – and we know how quick the virus spreads – it could go from one person to maybe the whole community. You just don’t know,” Harris says. “The basic resources that we take for granted, they lack. The only store they have is like a roadhouse for the trucks to pass through.”
Despite this, Harris tells WHO, “They’re just so happy. There’s literally nothing there, but they all work as one and they’re one big family.”
During this challenging time, Harris says indigenous communities can use all the support they can get. “I think the government grants are great, but hopefully they roll out as quickly as they possibly can.”
World Vision also provides invaluable resources to these communities year-round. “They don’t just chuck funding at the indigenous communities – they ask the indigenous leaders what they need to help their community grow, like early child development, which is really important,” Harris explains.
World Vision also helps train locals to run their own playgroups and schools, so both the adults and children benefit – enabling these remote communities to become self-sufficient.
“It’s a good cycle,” Harris shares. “They’re keeping these communities going in the way that they want to, but also giving them a few resources that can help them grow a bit more.”