Home > About > FAQ’s
  • What is literacy?
  • Why is literacy important?
  • Where do we work?
  • What is the Aboriginal Literacy Foundation’s mission?
  • How did the ALF start?
  • Why do Aboriginal children need special help?
  • How are the ALF’s project and campaigns funded?
  • What specific programs are the ALF currently offering?
  • Is the ALF affiliated with any government or religious organisation?
  • How can I help?
  • Can I apply for help to improve literacy skills at my school or in my area?
  • Who do the ALF work with?
  • Why are our programs so effective?
  • Who are our community partners?
  • How can I obtain further information?

What is literacy?

Literacy involves the integration of listening, speaking, reading, writing and critical thinking.
It also includes the cultural knowledge which enables a speaker, writer or reader to recognise and use language appropriate to different social situations.

Why is literacy important?

According to UNESCO, every person has the right to education of which literacy is at the core. Literacy is necessary for social and human development. It is an essential tool used to eradicate poverty, reduce child mortality, curb population growth, achieve gender equality and ensure sustainable development, peace and democracy. [1]

Literate parents are more likely to send their children to school; literate people are better able to access continuing educational opportunities; and literate societies are better geared to meet pressing development. [2]

 Where do we work?

We are a Victorian based organisation but through our Books for Learning program and our network of partnerships we have a national reach. It is estimated that our programs and partnerships come into contact with some 60,000 individuals, family and community members.

What is the Aboriginal Literacy Foundation’s mission?

The Aboriginal Literacy Foundation seeks to transform the lives of Indigenous children by focusing on literacy and numeracy education. Working in collaboration with local communities and partners, we develop literacy skills with Indigenous children so that they can succeed in school, their community and beyond.

How did the ALF start?

Dr Anthony Cree OAM, founder and CEO, launched the Aboriginal Literacy Foundation in 2003. This was a natural extension of 25 years of service to Indigenous education within the government, university and school sectors. He was amazed and saddened by the shocking lack of programs and resources available to address the gap in literacy education amongst Indigenous children in Australia. His inspiring vision has created a team of committed and passionate volunteer tutors who work in local communities and foster local partnerships and ownership.

Why do Aboriginal children need assistance?

By almost all socioeconomic indicators, Australia’s Aboriginal children are the most disadvantaged group in the nation. The educational outcomes of Indigenous children are closely related to their opportunities for further education and employment. A lack of education can also lead to ongoing health problems, crime, high risk alcohol consumption, and financial and psychological stress. [3]

There is a significant gap in the English literacy rates of Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in Australia. Sadly, a large majority of Indigenous children in regional and remote areas struggle to read and write and fall well below the national literacy benchmarks.

Early intervention and support in literacy and numeracy skills is vital to keep Indigenous children engaged in education. Life outcomes and opportunities can be dramatically improved if Indigenous children remain engaged in education.

How are the ALF’s projects and campaigns funded?

The projects and campaigns of the ALF are funded by the generous donations of members of the public combined with the support of several non-government organisations and foundations. You can help too. Visit the How You Can Help page for more information.

What specific programs are the ALF currently offering?

The ALF currently provides several specific programs involving different strategies, all of which share the same aim of improving the literacy skills of Indigenous youth.
These specific programs include:

  • Weekly Tutoring
  • Literacy & Heritage Camps
  • Books for Learning
  • Digital Literacy Hub

For more information on these initiatives visit the Programs page.

Is the ALF affiliated with any government or religious organisation?

The Aboriginal Literacy Foundation is an independent, non-government organisation, and is completely non-denominational.

How can I help?

There are many different ways in which you can support the Aboriginal Literacy Foundation and in turn help improve literacy standards amongst our young Indigenous population. You may help by becoming a partner, sponsoring, volunteering, donating financially, donating books or by holding your own fundraising event.
For more information visit the How You Can Help page.

Any applications for help to improve the literacy skills of Indigenous young people in your school or area may be made by emailing the foundation at [email protected]

Please include specific details about the problems your school or area are facing, and your contact details. Please keep in mind that whilst the ALF strives to improve the literacy of as many Indigenous young people as possible, with limited resources we are unable to help everyone.

Who do the ALF work with?

The ALF works closely with teachers, parents and guardians of Indigenous young people in order to ensure that they get the best possible opportunity to improve upon their literacy skills both at school, and at home. A strong working relationship with community leaders and elders also guarantees that the needs of the most unfortunate Indigenous young people are attended to and handled with sensitivity and care.

Why are our programs so effective?

The programs initiated by the ALF have proven to be extremely successful. Research shows that early intervention is the key to giving children the best chance of becoming literate, so the ALF works hard to interact with struggling Indigenous children as early as possible.

One of the most integral steps towards ensuring the effectiveness of our literacy programs is the execution of literacy testing and evaluation for all involved students. The testing provides early detection of literacy and numeracy problems among Indigenous students, which allows for guidance and implementation of early intervention, support and the tailoring of educational programs to best suit the needs of each individual student.

Who are our community partners?

The ALF is supported by various community partners who play a vital role in the continued growth and efforts of the Foundation. A list of longstanding partners include:

These partners include: auDA Foundation, The Andrews Foundation, Ansvar Insurance, The Ballarat Foundation & United Way Ballarat, Besen Family Foundation, Bennelong Foundation, Collier Charitable Fund, Gandel Philanthropy, H.V McKay Charitable Trust, James N. Kirby Foundation, Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation, Mazda Foundation, The Marian & EH Flack Trust, Medibank Community Fund, Newsboys Foundation, RM Ansett Trust, Snow Foundation, The Ray & Joyce Uebergang Foundation and Victorian Women’s Benevolent Trust.

How can I obtain further information

Any further questions or comments can be made by directly contacting the ALF by telephone, email or in writing.


  1. United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) 2013, Literacy For All, http://en.unesco.org/themes/literacy-all
  2. United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) 2010, Education,  http://www.unesco.org/en/education-ar/themes/learning-throughout-life/literacy/literacy-important/
  3. Australian Bureau of Statistics 2010, The Health and Welfare of Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, Oct 2010 –http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/[email protected]/lookup/4704.0Chapter365Oct+2010