Could we make what Meeka made?


Sir – Made in Meeka, a unique social enterprise on the edge of the Western Desert has been gaining international support for its unique ideas about art, community and sharing culture.
Set up just over a year ago by Gary Hammer and me, Made In Meeka recently joined international crowd fund website Chuffed and is gaining attention from donors as far away as Canada, New Zealand, Germany and the US.
It is a real example of people power. We have done all of this in less than a year with our own money and help from the community.
The Chuffed campaign helps us to reach out to people around the world who, through a small donation, can make a big difference.
“In fact Chuffed loved what we do so much they selected us from 4000 campaigns on their platform to be featured in their Christmas catalogue.
We have turned an historic building in the main street into a vibrant place which offers free art packs, an arts and crafts area, a multipurpose room which provides much needed space for entrepreneurs, and a place where lonely miners away from their families and pets, come in to pat the two deserts dogs Missy and Ted. It’s also a much-need hub for local artists.
The next step is a much-needed public “Meeting Place” in the main street where community elders can share history and dreamtime stories with visitors.
For many of our elders, there is simply nothing to do – their role in the community is disappearing, and they have asked us if we can help. Many of them have qualifications and skills, and they are putting their hands up to come and work with us on shared goals.
The Made in Meeka shop sells local art, souvenirs and useful things to keep the doors of the enterprise open and the lights on, and to provide local artists with an outlet to display and sell their work. The centre also helps the artists develop their designs into cards, prints and other products.
We haven’t had any grants or tax payers dollars, but offering a place where people can paint, connect, and share culture, somewhere to go besides the pub is opening up a whole lot of possibilities for the town.
With the Chuffed campaign donations the team has big plans to create a walled garden, bush tucker food area, the Meeting Place, a town mural done by local artists, and offer accommodation for travellers and more.
We have raised around $8000 so far from Chuffed and local donations but we need a lot more and we are hoping that some big donors will get behind us.
Made in Meeka might be in the middle of nowhere but it is starting to attract attention with award nominations and accolades from locals and visitors alike.
Anna Johnson


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