Building a future together: Valtteri Bottas visits Save the Children project for Indigenous communities
Alfa Romeo F1 Team KICK driver, Valtteri Bottas, visited a Save the Children-run project to raise awareness of the charity’s precious work with disadvantaged children. The Finnish driver visited the Mooroopna Kinder in Shepparton, Victoria, on Tuesday, interacting with the mostly three- and four-year-old children attending the kindergarten – one that support the local Indigenous community.
Valtteri also visited the original premises of Mooroopna Kinder, which were heavily damaged during flooding in October 2022, and visited the local bush area, home to many traditional foods and medicinal plants used by the Indigenous communities for centuries. Valtteri took part in the creation of an Aboriginal flag, made with handprints from the driver and children, and also experienced the educational programmes ran by the teaching staff. The Alfa Romeo F1 Team KICK driver also chose the occasion to unveil a special edition helmet he will use during the Australian Grand Prix weekend, designed by Aboriginal artist, Ricky Kildea, which will be auctioned after the race weekend in support of the Save the Children activities at Mooroopna Kinder.
Save the Children has been running Mooroopna Kinder since 1969, offering a valuable service in the community by providing free kindergarten services to families who would otherwise struggle to afford it. Part of the service also involves free transport for children – a significant barrier to access for many families.
The kindergarten is a safe place for children from diverse backgrounds and has a strong connection to the Indigenous community, with cultural practices embedded into everyday activities. Over 80% of the children attending are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders, with many having special needs. The work done by Save the Children is crucial, for access to quality pre-school education is important for a child’s development.
Following the heavy damage of October 2022, when the area was affected by flooding, Mooroopna Kinder has continued operating at interim locations: the original premises, visited by Valtteri, are on course to be reopened in May 2023.
Valtteri Bottas, Alfa Romeo F1 Team KICK driver: “The visit to Mooroopna Kinder was an inspiring moment: it was emotional to see the direct, tangible effect that the work of Save the Children has on local communities, especially in the wake of a natural disaster that threatens to destroy their daily lives. Education is key for a child’s future and the work done at Mooroopna ensures these kids will have a better chance in life – it’s invaluable. I have made a lot of memories today, but the one that will stay with me the longest is seeing the smiles on the face of each child. Thanks to Save the Children, they can hope for a better future, whatever their start in life.”