Alison Overeem is a proud palawa woman from South-East Tasmania who is driven by culture, family, empowerment and creating safe spaces to build hope and dignity.
Alison is passionate about raising awareness of Aboriginal culture and history and the rights of women in society. As a result, Alison has been a member of the Tasmanian Women’s Council since 2015.
While working in aged care at the age of 16, Alison studied for a Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood) and graduated in 1989.
Alison established the Aboriginal Children’s Centre at West Moonah in 1989. As Director of the Aboriginal Children’s Centre from 1989 to 2013, she helped design a state-of-the-art, award-winning, culturally inclusive children’s centre at Risdon Cove. Alison believes she was fortunate to be at the forefront of developing a multifunctional Aboriginal service, the first of its kind in Tasmania. It was, in fact, a precursor to the Child and Family Centres rolled out across Tasmania in recent years.
In 2013, Alison was appointed as the Leprena Centre Manager, Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress (UAICC Tasmania). Alison has been instrumental in broadening Leprena’s engagement, networking and connections. On an average week, Leprena engages with about 80 young people.
Leprena offers a variety of activities such as children’s programs, family support programs, training and development, and mentoring. Leprena also acts as a conduit for the wider community seeking to connect with Indigenous people, and frequently engages with non-Aboriginal groups to provide ‘Welcome to Country’ experiences. Alison believes these experiences are vital in helping to close the gap between First and Second Peoples.
Alison has made numerous contributions to publications and resources to promote National Aboriginal and Islander Children’s Day and culturally inclusive practice models of service delivery for Aboriginal communities. Alison’s membership of the National Aboriginal and Islander and Childcare Executive enabled her to provide representations on issues impacting children and families in Tasmania.