Drawing good maps in Aboriginal men's minds
Jan 31, 2018
Services: Codes 4 Life
Michael Liddle discusses Codes 4 Life with the Wire
Codes 4 Life is a program for Aboriginal men that is gaining popularity and changing lives in Central Australia. Knowing who you are and being proud of it provides purpose and strength, but many Aboriginal men are losing this sense of identity through crime, substance abuse and being caught between two worlds. The creator of the program, DKA’s Michael Liddle, hopes that Codes 4 Life will change that by reconnecting participants to the strength of their culture and reminding them about the importance of identity, responsibility and legacy.
“What’s alarming and increasingly happening is that Aboriginal men are losing their identity, losing their purpose…which impacts on their community. We question them about rearing and growing up kids. What sort of conversation are we leaving for the future development of our youth? In our current climate, it’s not a very good view,” Michael says.
“Our purpose in these workshops is to not sugar coat anything. We tell it like it is. We draw good maps in their minds about responsibility.”
Interviewer Annie Hastwell from the Wire asks Michael if it’s difficult to get men to open up about their challenges.
“Oh my word, you can hear a pin drop!” he laughs. “Some men are really quiet. But by the end of the session, they’re talking to us in language, telling us what their responsibilities are regarding their mother’s country, their father’s country. They feel really excited about changing the direction of their life. They walk away as different people than who they came in as. It’s really pleasing work. When these men leave we all hug each other, and when we see them in the street a couple of weeks later they’re really happy to see us.”
With the Alice Springs workshops proving to be such a success, Michael plans to expand delivery of the workshop to Central Australian communities like Ti Tree, Laramba, Harts Range, and Engawala. Other communties like Yuendumu have also asked Michael to deliver Codes 4 Life. “There’s interest coming from everywhere!”, he says.
Listen to the full interview
The Wire interviews Michael Liddle