From little things ...

As a small corporation, Mari Yerta* Men's and Young Men's Aboriginal Corporation is not concerned about office facilities–they don’t have an office. Instead meetings are held at people’s houses or community centres and their business is mostly carried out from home.

From its origins in 2003, the north-east Adelaide based Mari Yerta has grown from a handful of people to a membership of more than 30 and an active committee of 10 directors.

Along the way they have set up a solid foundation for good governance: developing strategic and business plans, undertaking ORIC training and tailoring their rule book to best meet the key aim of ‘developing a strong voice enhancing community well-being’.

An administrative highlight was the recent lodging of corporate documents, as required under the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006 (CATSI Act), online. ‘It’s made meeting our obligations a lot easier.’

There has been a number of awards as well, including the City of Port Adelaide Enfield 2007 ‘Organisation of the Year’ and a 2008 ‘Elder of the Year’ honour for Mari Yerta director Greg Sinclair.

Today the focus is on forming networks and agreements with business, government and the broader community.

The other priority is to grow successful youth projects including the annual graduation ceremony held in collaboration with the South Australian Department of Education and Children’s Services.

Started in 2003, six separate graduation ceremonies took place recently at the close of the 2010 school year. Now known as ‘Just too Deadly’, the joyous events acknowledged the achievements of year 7 to year 12 Aboriginal students from the city’s north-east district.

‘I’m hoping to support other communities so they can introduce the program and get started next year,’ Neville says.

There may be no office, but there is certainly a lot of determination, hard work and success for the small corporation.

(*Mari Yerta means east country in the Kaurna language)