“When we’re all alone ’cause our family’s gone drinking, we get bored ’cause there’s nothing to do.
“We’re not excited about tomorrow, every day’s the same, we got to find a new way, a new direction to break the cycle.”
Their names are (from left) Danielle Breaden, Katrina Drover and Shania Austin and , aged 14, 13 and 11 years, they live at Amoonguna, some 20 kms south of Alice and part of MacDonnell Shire, and these are the lyrics of a song they wrote and performed as part of the “Stay Strong, Live Long” project conducted by the shire council’s youth development team.
The project’s aim is to raise awareness of issues relating to suicide, in response to the high incidence of youth suicide in Central Australia.
So, how do the girls think the cycle will be broken? Not by “going into town and roaming around, looking for some trouble”. They say they’ve got to “think about the future, got to work and stay at school, got to make a change”. And who’s that up to?
“It’s up to me, it’s up to you, to break the cycle, it’s up to us, we got to choose to break the cycle.”
Their beautifully filmed, edited and performed video clip is one of 26 made, involving youth across the shire as part of this project. It was one of two shown at the launch of the DVD and 14-track CD this evening.
The other was quite different but equally as excellent. It animated drawings by children from Kintore – a community at the western-most end of the vast shire – to talk about what makes them happy or sad. There were no words to this clip, just music and sounds. Their smiley faces and the sound of laughter accompanied scenes of things like going hunting with family; then the laughter faded and the sound of children crying and wailing rose, along with scenes of, first and foremost, drunken fighting. It was simple and it was heartbreaking.
Both clips had a real impact. If the rest are anything like these, then this has been a very effective and no doubt rewarding project for the shire’s youth, developing their multi-media skills along the way. – Kieran Finnane
UPDATE July 30, 2012: See the fruits of this project yourself.