EnergyAustralia is proud to be working with Yarra Valley Water and local businesses to help transform a Melbourne property into a home for students from remote East Kimberley in Western Australia.
The project is part of the Wunan Foundation's Kimberley Education Excellence Program (KEEP), aimed at providing Aboriginal students with education opportunities not available in their hometown, while they live together under the care of an Aboriginal house parent. This is the program's first year in Melbourne and caters for six girls attending Mercy College and three boys attending Parade College.
One of the Melbourne houses, owned and donated for use by Mercy College – the sister school to Parade College, is within walking distance of the school but was run down, with inefficient, outdated household appliances, and a backyard not fit for growing, energetic teenagers. With the chilly Melbourne winter approaching, and the students more accustomed to 30ºC days in the north of Western Australia, EnergyAustralia committed to some much-needed home improvements.
These included installing three Mitsubishi electric 2.5kW Signature Series split system reverse cycle inverters and a complete switchboard upgrade. EnergyAustralia also took on the costs of the house's energy bills.
Wunan KEEP House Parent Rowena Alexander said she and the students were overwhelmed by the support they've received.
"We never expected this to happen back when we first met with EnergyAustralia and Yarra Valley Water and talked about how we wanted to create safe and inviting homes for the students," Ms Alexander said. "It's wonderful to tell their families about the generosity that the businesses and people of Melbourne are showing toward their children. It shows how we have been welcomed into the community," said Ms Alexander.
Catherine Tanna, Managing Director, EnergyAustralia said "I believe very strongly that all of us, as individuals, business and industry, should feel driven to do the right thing.
"Helping young students access opportunities through education is just one way we can do the right thing. That's what EnergyAustralia's involvement with the Wunan KEEP program is about," said Ms Tanna.
Meanwhile, Yarra Valley Water committed to upgrading the house plumbing and arranging for the backyard to be transformed into a space where the children can kick a football or play basketball; the student's two favorite sports.
"We are extremely pleased to be able to support our local community, and to give these kids the best start possible, as well as making them feel at home in Melbourne," said Yarra Valley Water Managing Director, Pat McCafferty. "Our staff has worked hard to help this make-over become a reality, and I am grateful to all of our partners for their efforts and support."
To find out more about Wunan and the KEEP program visit www.wunan.org.au