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The Foundation is excited to share stories of students working together to support other students. Read the fundraising stories from schools who support the Foundation and our community. All photos have been supplied by the schools and we have received permission to share them.

St Damian's Primary School Bundoora

On  a cold and miserable wintry morning (7th June),  Year 6 students along with our FIRE Carrier Leaders (Friends Igniting Reconciliation in Education) were very eager to get under way with our annual Long Walk. This is a Walk held annually that gives our students an opportunity to learn about racism and also the dark parts of our shared history, especially the chapters on ‘stolen generations’.  Well, after a doubtful start due to rain, our students headed off walking proudly with their placards to Loyola College, where we were to meet the Year 6 students and FIRE Carriers from St Mary’s Greensborough. 

Loyola VCAL students hosted the day and provided a delicious sausage sizzle. The students participated in an Acknowlegement of Country led by Sherry Balcombe (ACM), and a presentation by Fr Glenn Loughrey, Anglican priest, writer and painter, a proud First Nations Wiradjuri man. 

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St Damian’s Primary also held an Aboriginal flag colours, casual clothes dress day for all our students. The students of the school collectively raised $500 which was donated to ‘Opening the Doors’ foundation. The school has supported Opening The Doors Foundation since 2015 including running the Long Walk with Loyala College and St Mary's Primary School.

Teacher and FIRE Carriers coordinator at St Damian's, Mattie Dragonetti said, "Our school community recognise what an important mission the foundation has in supporting other Catholic school students.

Sacred Heart Primary School

Sacred heart primary recently fund-raised through creating a human timeline, highlighting to students the amazing period of time that Aboriginal people have lived in Australia, compared to the very small time that white Australians have been here. Using a rope as their timeline, students contributed a gold coin donation allowing them to wear free dress in the colours of the Aboriginal flag. Two of the FIRE Carrier leaders wore white and occupied only a tiny space at the end of the rope.

They also ran a 'Guess the Number of lollies in the jar' competition which was extremely popular and allowed the FIRE Carriers to raise even more funds. 

'It was a very visual reminder of just whose country this has been for such a huge period of time!!'

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St Peter Julian Eymard Primary School

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Throughout 2019, students at St Peter Julian Eymard used their creativity to raise funds for OTDF. In their spare time, they made an enormous amount of bracelets and sold them to students within the school.

'We raised the money by hand making bracelets from wool inspired by the colours of the Aboriginal flag' - SPJE Student

They also organised colouring activities for younger students so that all students could enjoy and get involved. The students had a great time fundraising and made a great contribution to OTDF. 

Our Lady of Sacred Heart

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FIRE Carrier students from Our Lady of the Sacred Heart College have worked hard both on site and remotely to promote reconciliation through education throughout 2021. The student leaders organised events in every term this year to educate the community about Indigenous cultures and the significance of important dates and events. While the pandemic interrupted various fund-raising initiatives the students had planned, we were finally able to go ahead with a barbecue in late November.

Through selling veggie burgers, beef and kangaroo sausages at this barbecue, the students raised $500 for the Opening the Doors Foundation! The students are already excited and ready to hit the ground running next year as they are already planning more initiatives to raise more money for this fantastic organisation. 

St Kevin's School

St Kevin’s most recent fundraiser for Opening the Doors was a Cake’ n ’Bake stall in 2019. Students were invited to bring cakes and/or lollies to sell to the school cohort.


It was an extremely successful event with the students raising a great amount of funds for OTDF. St Kevin’s school have been supporting Opening the Doors since 2016 and, each year, the students continue to find new and exciting ways to fund raise for OTDF.


Catholic Regional College - Melton

Last year, students established a business, as a part of business management classes. They had to manage a budget and advertise their products and services to sell on the school celebration day, which occurs each year to raise funds for the school’s chosen charities. Students set up stalls and sold their product or service. The businesses included a cake stall, a Dutch pancake stall, fresh punch, a gaming stall and a stall selling homemade chocolates.


The students baked all of the products themselves and had to write a business and marketing plan. It was lots of fun and really competitive as they also ran a competition where the group that made the most profit was awarded business entrepreneurs of the year. Whilst focusing on their individual projects, each student was aware that the money they raised was for OTDF, allowing them to develop their business skills as well as achieving their charity fundraising for the year.

St Columba's College

Students at St Columba’s College have been supporting OTDF since 2010. In 2019, the amazing team of FIRE Carries at the school raised funds through a number of events hosted during Reconciliation week. Throughout the week the school showed films and documentaries, shared biscuits and cakes baked with native ingredients, and invited Aboriginal speakers to share their stories and lead discussions.

Students were also made aware of issues facing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and talked about how they can support the education of Aboriginal children. This import discussion led to donations being made by children and parents to OTDF.

Brigidine College St Ives

Year 12 students at Brigidine College, during the course of 2019, made a major commitment to Opening the Doors Foundation. In seeking a project to support in 2019 the girls researched options and were attracted to OTDF and its personalised approach to supporting Aboriginal families, fitting with the girls and schools commitment to social justice. Over several months, and through a range of funding raising activities, such as stalls, a film night and the sale of t-shirts designed by a College student featuring the OTDF logo. The donations was presented to OTDF at the assembly, on behalf of the Year 12s, by Lauren Hocking, a 2019 Senior Captain. Gabrielle McMullen, a Trustee at OTDF, attended Brigidine High school herself and highlighted that the college really lives out the commitment of Brigidine Schools, to reflect ‘the love, generosity and justice of the Gospels’.

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Catholic Ladies College 

Catholic Ladies College have been supporting OTDF for an amazing 10 years. On the last day of Term 3, the CLC FIRE Carrier group held an Indigenous Footy Day. It was a great success with over $2,000 being raised. Special guests to the day included Leila Gurruwiwi, Maddy Prespakis and Aleisha Newman, who helped make the day one students would never forget. The day included many activities, including a student run Q and A. The main event of the footy clinic had a great turn out with all participating students receiving master classes from the two AFLW players. 

'The CLC FIRE Carriers are delighted with our day. Our aims were met. A lot of fun was had, while educating and giving College members the chance to directly meet these incredible First Australian Women.'

Our Lady of Good Counsel

Our Lady of Good Counsel (OLGC) raised awareness about OTDF and raised funds as a part of the Social Justice Focus for the third year in a row. Year 5s and 6s students organised a Business Fair, creating their own products and marketing their Stalls. It was a huge success.

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St Ignatius

Saint Ignatius held their first ever Indigenous Recognition Day. Sacred Heart College held their Unity Day on the same date - the leaders of both schools coordinated this. The aim of this day was to raise awareness for some of the many injustices that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples continue to face in Australia. The schools also sought to celebrate the unique cultural heritage of our Aboriginal land, the Wada Wurrung country.


The FIRE Carriers worked diligently to set up this event. All students wore black shirts as a symbol of standing in solidarity with Aboriginal People. A whole school video was released that highlighted major issues in the destruction of culturally significant sites, lack of constitutional recognition, the 'Free the Flag' movement, and the lack of treaty negotiations. We also included ways that students could make a difference in these areas too.


Throughout the week, Food Technology students used native ingredients in their cooking (saltbush, lemon myrtle and macadamia nuts), and Art students studied and designed their own Aboriginal art. Indigenous sport activities such as marn grook, arkenne irreme, and gorri were played on the ovals at lunchtimes. All of these activities were received extremely well by the staff and students.

St Bernadette's Primary School

Students at St Bernadette’s Primary School organised two events to raise funds for OTDF last year.


Firstly, they raised money through the classic game of Lollies in a Jar; students had the opportunity to pay to guess how many lollies were in the jar in the hope of eventually winning the contents.

Secondly, raffle tickets were sold school wide for the change to win AFL game tickets. These tickets were generously donated to the school and the profit of these sales were given to OTDF. The students raised an significant amount for OTDF last year and are continuing their fundraising efforts in 2020.

FIRE Carrier Schools Conference 2019

The annual FIRE Carrier conference 2019 was a magnificent day where FIRE Carriers from across the state came together to reflect on their year and learn about the importance of their own efforts.

Thank you to Catholic Ladies College for Hosting the day.

Uncle Bill Nicholson begin the day with a Welcome To Country and Smoking Ceremony and discussed this year’s NAIDOC themes: Voice, Treaty Truth.

Aboriginal Catholic Ministry Coordinator, Sherry Balcombe, spoke about Aboriginal life before colonisation, the Stolen Generation and future hopes for all Australians, followed by a performace by Yorta Yorta singer/songwriter, Scott Darlow. Katrina North from Amnesty International spoke about social Justice Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.


FIRE Carriers

The FIRE (Friends Igniting Reconciliation through Education) Carrier program is made up of a network of schools across Victoria. These schools make a commitment to learning about and from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and cultures, as well as taking initiative in contributing to Reconciliation in education. The commitment includes contributing efforts to progressing the FIRE Carrier network, celebrating the contribution of Aboriginal Peoples and cultures to Australia, and supporting OTDF. There are currently 120 schools in Victoria which are part of the FIRE Carrier program.

'Being a FIRE Carrier is about connecting with people of all circumstances, through listening with open hearts and open minds, allowing for the development of an understanding - an understanding of the past, present and direction for the future.'

'I see being a FIRE Carrier as a pledge. It is a pledge to keep seeking the answers to unasked questions regarding the history of Australia. It is a pledge to stand up against injustice even in the face of adversity. It's a pledge to keep the fire of Reconciliation burning in the heart of my school and community.'

'Being a FIRE Carrier is a privilege. Being able to band together with other people to work on fighting the discrimination Indigenous people are faced with every day. The feeling of making a difference is life changing.'

Thank you to all the above schools. OTDF appreciates the commitment of students and staff from both FIRE Carrier and non-FIRE Carrier schools.

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