Tenant Stories

Tika Tirka: Finding a home away from home

Growing up in a remote community has its perks – more space, fewer people, family connections and close to nature, but when it comes to education and career opportunities, geography can be a major obstacle forcing its residents and specially young people to relocate to the city for study and career advancement.

For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth, finding an accommodation that is affordable, secure, and culturally respectful can often be a challenge especially when your connection to land, family and community plays an intrinsic part to who you are. Fortunately for Jaekiya (pictured bottom) and Michael (pictured top), the move was worth it having found their “home away from home” at Tika Tirka.

Jaekiya, a young Adnyamathanha woman who grew up in Iga Warta relocated to Adelaide and studies Early Childhood and Education at Enable College. Ngarrindjeri man, Michael also relocated and studies Bachelor of Psychological Science at the University of Adelaide. Both live at Tika Tirka, an innovative student accommodation that provides young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from remote and outer regional communities with a safe place to call home. It enables them to pursue studies whilst living in a home that is safe, fosters connection and is culturally appropriate.

“Tika Tirka understands the laws of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. They give you the full support you need to not only help you with your studies, but also for what comes after that,” said Jaekiya. “It feels like a family. We get along very well.”

Located on Gilbert Street, Tika Tirka is set up to house 20 young people and is run by SA Housing Authority with Aboriginal Community Housing Limited (ACHL) overseeing the tenancy and property management and resident support as of 1 January 2021.

“Everyone is very focused on their goals, which is to become experienced, learn a whole bunch and start supporting the community themselves. Just having like-minded people living around me has helped me stay on the path and stay in my studies, especially the staff,” said Michael.

“We [Students] are on different journeys because of our different studies. Tika Tirka being a culturally safe place, we are all on the same page when it comes to wanting to make better pathways for those after us,” said Jaekiya.

“With the connection I have at Tika Tirka and work, I am always surrounded by family.”

Jaekiya and Michael are working towards their career goals with onsite staff who provide culturally appropriate support for each individual. Jaekiya has completed her work placement. Michael is working as a night manager at Tika Tirka, research assistant and as a positive behaviour support practitioner. He has also won a Dr Tracy Westerman scholarship.

Both look forward to working in their chosen professions paving the way for future generations to follow and giving back to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Find out more about Tika Tirka here.