Learning about the Stolen Generation had a profound effect on Aarya Phansalkar.
The Granville youngster put herself in their shoes when she wrote a poem about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children being removed from their families.
The Stolen was a standout winner in the NSW Schools’ Reconciliation Challenge primary writing category.
Entrants had the option to create an artwork or story inspired by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, peoples and history for the NSW Reconciliation Council competition. This year’s competition attracted more than 700 entries from 74 schools across NSW.
“I attempted to imagine myself in the shoes of an Aboriginal person watching her people being stolen and taken to British camps to learn their foreign culture. I tried to think about how it would feel if I were taken away from my family,” Aarya said.
She and her Blaxcell Street Public School year six classmates entered the competition as part of an assignment.
“I was blown away by the depth of understanding and empathy she had for someone for age,” cultural studies teacher Belinda Alca said.
“We were over the moon and very proud of Aarya’s win. The competition gave us an opportunity to open up a discussion with the children. Each member of the class went away with a greater understanding of Australian history, which is very important as Australia moves toward reconciliation. It starts with young people as they are the future.”