Bridging the digital divide in remote Western Australia

Posted May 21, 2024
Bridging the digital divide in remote Western Australia

In a world absorbed in technology, young people living in remote communities can often feel digitally isolated.

In Ardyaloon, a remote Indigenous community in the northwest of WA, children have almost no digital access, hindering social and emotional wellness, making them vulnerable to poor mental health.

The ‘Our World in Photos’ project, developed by Curtin University and funded by Telethon, aimed to change that, providing digital access to support children’s wellbeing and build confidence and friendships.   

The one-year community project, which took place over 2023, gave vulnerable children access to digital cameras and encouraged them to tell their stories, share what they consider meaningful to their wellbeing, and advocate for changes needed in their community.

Despite many children never having held a camera before, they produced high-quality images showcasing them at an exhibition that celebrated their voices and improved community understanding of their needs.

Welcomed by the community, photovoice gave the children a sense of inclusivity and belonging, providing a platform for them to feel seen, heard and accepted.

The children became noticeably more vocal and engaged in workshop activities, rating the workshops highly and described its profound value; “It was the best day of my life” and “the best workshop we’ve ever done.”

Reflecting on their experience, one student expressed pride in their accomplishments, stating, “I am proud of myself actually and what I made. I love my photos so much, I did a really good job.” Another participant highlighted the newfound skills they had acquired, “Now I can take good photos and I know why I am taking them.”

The success of the ‘Our World in Photos’ project in Ardyaloon shows the power of digital access in remote Indigenous communities. By bridging the digital divide and nurturing creativity and self-expression, Telethon’s support for initiatives like these paves the way for a more inclusive future for all young people, regardless of their geographical location.

View the suite of images here.