Palawa woman Alison Overeem welcomed to Tasmanian honour roll for work in ECEC
Alison Overeem, a Palawa First Nations woman from South East Tasmania has been inducted into the Tasmanian Honour Roll for Women in recognition of her work to design a state-of-the-art, award-winning, culturally inclusive children’s centre at Risdon Cove, the first of its kind in Tasmania.
The Honour Roll was established, the Tasmanian Government said, to play an important role in preserving the stories of women and women’s organisations, and provide a chance for the whole community to discover more about the contributions and achievements of Tasmanian women.
Ms Overeem was described as a proud Palawa woman who is driven by culture, family, empowerment and creating safe spaces to build hope and dignity. Passionate about raising awareness of Aboriginal culture and history, and the rights of women in society, Ms Overeem is an active member of the Tasmanian Women’s Council.
She established the Aboriginal Children’s Centre at West Moonah in 1989, and, as Director, developed an award-winning and culturally inclusive multifunctional Aboriginal service, the first of its kind in Tasmania. The centre is said to be a precursor to the Child and Family Centres rolled out across Tasmania in recent years.
In 2013, Ms Overeem was appointed as the Leprena Centre Manager, Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress (UAICC Tasmania). Alison has been instrumental in broadening Leprena’s engagement, networking and connections. On an average week, Leprena engages with about 80 young people.
Leprena offers a variety of activities such as children’s programs, family support programs, training and development, and mentoring. Leprena also acts as a conduit for the wider community seeking to connect with Indigenous people, and frequently engages with non-Aboriginal groups to provide ‘Welcome to Country’ experiences, which she describes as vital in helping to close the gap between First and Second Peoples.
Ms Overeem has made numerous contributions to publications and resources to promote National Aboriginal and Islander Children’s Day and culturally inclusive practice models of service delivery for Aboriginal communities. Her membership of the National Aboriginal and Islander and Childcare Executive enabled her to provide representations on issues impacting children and families in Tasmania.