The AIME team are, seriously, straight up legends. To those who may not have heard this Aussie slang before, it’s synonymous with fantastic, great, above the best, top notch, really excellent, can’t fault them, kind of deal.
Why? Founder and CEO Jack Manning-Bancroft set up this organization in 2005 with the aim of getting 10,000 indigenous students through school to try and close the huge literacy and education gap that exists between indigenous and non-indigenous Australian students.
AIME was set up to inspire the kids being left behind to finish school and head into university and employment at the same rate as their peers. It is a mentoring programme that ‘builds the bridge’, connecting mentors to mentee high school students, keeping them engaged in school and then on to the next step. In Jack’s words,
“We are talking about a scalable, cost-effective solution to alleviating the disadvantage. One that keeps communities where they are and gives them a reason to band together. A solution that crosses racial and social division”.
Now, just 13 years later the AIME Team have hit their milestone by far.
Let’s look at the stats:
Since the first group of twenty-five kids in 2005, 15,000 Indigenous high schoolers and 5000 university students have now been through the AIME program.
The indigenous students who are a part of AIME have closed the gap, heading through into jobs or universities at 75% + for the last 6 years running. That is higher than the non-indigenous average and a huge display of how AIME is truly working to educate and empower kids here in Australia.
On top of that, due to the success of the AIME Programme in Australia, it launched globally this year. AIME is now operating out of Uganda and South Africa, with more countries to join soon I’m sure.
Huge results, huge change & huge opportunities from this amazing mentoring program.
So why am I telling you all of this?
Well – on top of doing excellent work to keep kids in school, AIME sells fantastic apparel in the form of hoodies, caps, t-shirts & cool collaborations to support their work. What’s more, each of the AIME Apparel pieces showcases beautiful indigenous Australian art created by students in the program. Cool, right?!
AIME Apparel was launched on 29 June 2015, and is the clothing of mentors. It is therefore symbolic of people coming together; a symbol for change for a generation of future leaders who strive to create a culture where, for every step you take forward in life, you throw your hand back and bring someone with you.
That is the AIME philosophy – working together to create change and build a better world.
For those who don’t know, indigenous Australia is one of the world’s oldest cultures, dating back more than 60,000 years. With a deep spiritual connection to the earth, diverse languages, customs and community cultures, it is one of the most unique and vibrant cultures on earth. I love that AIME showcases indigenous Australian art, created by students, on top of educating and empowering indigenous youth.
My favorite AIME Apparel picks: The budgey smugglers with a design representing male-female equality (great for summer) by Ashley, a Year 11 AIME mentee in the University of Notre Dame program, and the 2017 hoodie that bears a design symbolizing the beautiful humpback whale for those colder months, design courtesy of AIME mentee Ella Gillespie.
Business Guru, Philanthropist and Founder of Virgin Airlines, Richard Branson, even describe AIME as “… an excellent example of using business as a force for good”.
Kudos to Jack and the team at AIME, including all the students who are involved and engaged in the program. This is seriously a group to watch as they truly are changing our world.
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Sarah has spent a decade working for social change, leading international projects and teams in Australia, Asia and the Americas. She is a Rotary Global Grant Scholar, has been guest speaker at the United Nations and was awarded International Young Woman of the Year in 2018 for her work in global peace-building.