Isaiah Dawe is giving back through the establishment of ID Know Yourself.
Isaiah Dawe is a man who knows all about the foster care system. He has overcome the challenges of living in 17 different foster homes.
Isaiah, a Saltwater Murray man from the Butchulla and Garawa clans, has used this experience to establish ID Know Yourself, a mentoring program for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people within the New South Wales foster care system.
”The vision of ID Know Yourself is to ensure that all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people growing up in out-of-home care in New South Wales have access to their culture and support and assistance they need to live safe, happy and fulfilling lives,” Isaiah says.
“The slogan ‘know yourself’ is about knowing what you are capable of, knowing your worth and what you can achieve in this world.
“The ID Know Yourself program is designed to improve outcomes for Indigenous young people within foster care in five key areas. The key areas are identity/culture, education, life after care, health and yarn time.”
“The program was established on the back of my own personal experience as a young Aboriginal person who went through the foster care system. I know first-hand the negative experiences that can occur and what’s needed for those to flourish,” he says.
“I was in the foster care system from the age of two months old until I turned 18 and went through 17 foster homes in that time. During this period of my life, I was stripped of my culture and identity, suffered malnutrition and various forms of abuse ranging from physical, emotional, and sexual.”
“Unfortunately, to this day I haven’t had the opportunity to meet my family.”
Despite this, Isaiah went on to contribute to his community at the national and international level. He was elected as a member of the 2017 National Indigenous Youth Parliament, where he was awarded for being the most positive influencer of the group. He was also hand-picked by National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples as one of 10 Indigenous leaders across the country to travel to the United States to participate in an international leadership exchange program.