First Hand Solutions Aboriginal Corporation (FHS) was established October 2012 with a mission to build empowered, resilient indigenous communities through cultural reconnection, education, employment and enterprise. FHS combines social innovation, cultural protection, education and social enterprises to bring significant positive change to a variety of social indicators including reducing prisoner reoffending, caring for children and the elderly, community regeneration, financial inclusion, employment and building pathways to further education, and employment (including self-employment through small business).
It has two arms. The first is a social enterprise arm, Blak Markets. A micro business hub for Indigenous businesses, providing economic development opportunities, pathways to access markets and business support. Blak markets operates eight times a year at Bare Island La Perouse, and other locations such as Blak markets pop-up shops and via our online store. The market also provides employment and training opportunities for youth focusing on barista, retail, food preparation and supervision through the development of our own pop up coffee, food and retail stores at the markets.
Indigenous artists, especially in remote/regional communities are often restricted to the production part of the supply chain. The Heart in Art project builds on the Blak Markets model providing them the opportunity to participate and learn from the market-place and collaborate with others nationwide.
The Heart in Art Fair is this exchange of both business and social, professional and practical skills, linking all artists with access to a marketplace pathway as well as collaboration and celebration. Of course the advantages dont stop there with outcomes in audience development and diversity, professional development and education of people and artists about “Fake Art”.
As its second arm First Hand Solutions specialises in developing and implementing educational and community-based programs and services for Indigenous people and are ground-breaking in our hands on approach to closing the gap in Aboriginal communities. FHS’s community programs and services are designed to boost self-esteem and self-confidence for parents and their children by enhancing relationship building exercises, based on respect and mutual responsibility. We always work hard to ensure that programs delivered are engaging for parents, children and young people, teachers and students, the Elders and community representatives.
The programs focus on teaching participants identified skills, which include strategies to encourage participation, engagement and negotiation techniques within the school environment, Indigenous communities and the broader community in a positive and supportive way. We are able to incorporate both arms to support and further both through artists visits, talks and demonstrations at schools, and education about authenticity and intellectual property from a young age.