The Numbulwar School Nutrition Story

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Numbulwar is a small community on the east coast of Arnhem Land, in the Gulf of Carpentaria. Established by the missionaries in 1952 then taken over by community council in 1978. The community is made up of several clans, tribes and families. They are strong in their culture and beliefs and holding numerous traditional ceremonies. English is the third language spoken; Wubuy and Kriol are the most commonly used. Numbulwar is one of the most remote communities in Arnhem Land. Access to Numbulwar is limited depending on the seasons 4 wheel drive track is open 4-6 months of the year and air travel by charter is available all year round. All supplies and freight is delivered by barge fortnightly and mail is once a week.

Numbulwar School is situated in the heart of the community. It teaches all ages, Playgroup/FAFT , Preschool, Primary and Secondary. There are 168 students enrolled 12 teaching staff 15 indigenous staff working to provide these children with the foundations of a structured education, including special programs and events like sports days, fundraisers, excursions and cultural weeks. We have a great team of staff working to give these children a safe learning environment with basic structural routine which every child needs. We are currently working on improving the school building to make it fun and colourful. Classrooms have been upgraded to provide a cleaner happier learning environment.

Within our community we have a lot of health problems due to poor living conditions. Many children are hungry with poor nutrition, scabies, skin infections and other health and medical related illnesses including rheumatic heart disease and anemia. The children were showing up to school in poor condition tired lacking concentration. The nutrition program was set up 10 years ago in schools to help provide healthy meals improving children’s health. Giving a better quality of life the improvements within their general health and wellbeing is amazing. It’s a great program and I am so lucky to be involved. My team includes myself and two indigenous ladies who prepare and cook breakfast, morning tea and lunch for the students and staff. We use a selection of fresh and frozen produce, creating meals that meet nutritional requirements for a healthy start, growing bodies, strong minds. Our catering numbers vary according to attendance with the average ranging from 55 to 120. Meals are planned by a set three week rotational menu, with a variety of Homestyle cooking. When the barge arrives all hands are on deck.  We all pitch in with the unpacking of pallets which holds the fortnight’s supplies that will feed the children, putting food in their tummies and smiles on their faces.

I would love the opportunity to involve our school in the Tuckshop revolution. We can share our story, the meals, the work, the children, the community and spirit. We can share the importance of our job and the amazing results. We would love the opportunity to work with others in the industry learn new skills and expand our knowledge. The ladies are always working to achieve new skills enjoying extra training to further improve and widen their skill base and confidence. This would be a perfect opportunity for further training which I believe they deserve and would benefit from. Not many projects come to Numbulwar involved in the hospitality industry that is why we are very enthusiastic about Numbulwar School joining the tuck shop revolution.



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