The United Nations states that in relation to human rights connected to education; "Indigenous children shall not be denied the right to enjoy their own culture, to profess and practise their own religion, or to use their own language."
Due to many factors young people from fishermen community may hold limited knowledge of their Indigenous identity and heritage. In many instances they may be separated from their traditional community, land, cultural responsibilities and families. Multi-generational instances of trauma whereby families, cultural practices, systems of lore, relationship structures and languages were systematically impacted resulted in devastating effects on the psyche, welfare, land and spirituality of Indigenous fishermen. These practices and their effects leave a significant gap in the sense of identity amongst coastal people in Kerala and the struggle to redeem these necessary aspects of identity continue to be sought by all generations.
In its living form, Indigenous culture is one of the most respectful and mesmerising cultures, and to accept it’s full meaning means more than to simply dance, play the didgeridoo or speak in language.” – Tagalak Woman Denise Bowden.
CSCF acknowledge the value of these rituals in the healing of and cultural identity of communities.
As an organisation we acknowledge the value of bilingual education to children in communities whereby English may not be the first language and we also acknowledge the strong connection between language and connection to ones culture and esteem.
CSCF strongly believes the strength within indigenous fishermen cultures counteracts the 'deficits' that are often used to explain 'Indigenous disadvantage' and this includes education.
Having a genuine passion for and understanding of the value of culture for the students also underpins our work as it relates to health and employment strategies. Having cultural awareness around the more effective means of creating outcomes across education, health and employment is part of how we work in communities. We acknowledge that the inherent strengths in cultural practices and knowing ones culture needs to be intertwined within strategies as they relate to best practice models when creating measurable outcomes for young Indigenous aspirants.
Young people and students from fishermen community tend to drop out of mainstream programs or may see them as imposing. Main stream events are important because they can adapt to the needs of the community and are based on Indigenous knowledge and terms of reference, particularly if they engage Indigenous mentors and role models.
It also play an important role in meeting targets through decision making, and empowering Aboriginal peoples to tackle their own social issues. Programs tend to be more successful where there is community leadership.
In addition to education, employment and substance abuse issues, young Indigenous women face additional barriers to success in their future.
Improving social indicators for young Indigenous women through education is particularly relevant considering the influencing role women play .