(Garma Volunteers, Lost Dove Photography, 2023)
GoodCompany, in partnership with the Yothu Yindi Foundation (YYF), led over 100 volunteers, both corporate and individual, to volunteer at Garma Festival 2023.
Hosted by the Yothu Yindi Foundation, the Garma Festival showcases Indigenous miny’tji (art), manikay (song), bunggul (dance) and story-telling, and is an important meeting point for the clans and families of the region. The Garma mission is to provide a contemporary space for the expression and presentation of traditional Yolngu customs and knowledge. It is a space of welcoming, respect and learning.
Garma is a Yolngu Matha term, which means “two-way learning process”. The theme for 2023 is djambatj, which to Yolngu people means "excellence" or “vision of perfection”, according to Djawa Yunupingu, brother of the late Yunupingu and chairman of the Yothu Yindi Foundation.
As Garma volunteers, we were able to learn from Yolngu families through song, story telling and ceremony. By the same token, we exchanged knowledge with each other over meals, music and laughter.
(Yolngu woman painting on shells, 2023)
Over 11 magical days, Garma volunteers truly learnt what it means to be on Country and worked as a team to build the Garma Festival 2023.
From assisting Garma crew with infrastructure to painting trees in the Gapan gallery... from stacking chairs for the Bunggul grounds to setting up the Youth Forum... from helping VIP guests to simply being helpful guides - each volunteer gave their all.
“Volunteers don’t get paid, not because they’re worthless, but because they’re priceless”
- Sherry Anderson.
Together, we worked hard to deliver a truly remarkable festival and shared so many incredible, some would say life-changing moments along the way. From all walks of life, we became one happy family of 'Garma Graduates'.
(Men dancing on Bunggul grounds, 2023)
Testimonials from our Garma 2023 Volunteers (GoodCompany Feedback Form Aug 2023):
"The humanity of the occasion was remarkable."
"I had no idea what I was getting myself into; the experience was challenging but exhilarating and oh, so very much worth it!"
"I felt so positively overwhelmed at the thought that I contributed to bringing parts of the festival together and feel honored to be there to experience it as well."
"It was truly amazing, exhausting at times, inspiring, energizing, fantastic group of volunteers with a can-do approach."
"An experience of a lifetime."
"I wanted to deepen my understanding of Yolngu culture. I didn't expect to develop such deep connections with other volunteers - this was a really pleasant surprise!"
We simply cannot thank you all enough for your teamwork, positivity, patience and dedication. A massive effort from the amazing volunteers, Garma crew and YYF and a massive thank you from us!
We look forward to what next year will bring. Keep an eye out for an Expression of Interest form for Garma Festival 2024.
- The GoodCompany Team.