The Puuya Foundation seeks to empower the local community of Lockhart River to set goals and visions for their community’s future and to develop and nurture the skills, knowledge and confidence needed to realise their vision.

Since its inception in 2008, Puuya Foundation has worked on a basis of deep mutual respect with the local Lockhart River community. Working together has resulted in an unprecedented relationship with the local community, based on authentic mutual respect and collaboration.

Puuya Foundation is the only nonprofit organisation with dedicated staff on the ground in Lockhart River 365 days a year. The majority of its Board members are Lockhart River ‘locals’, complemented by dedicated non-local professionals and advisors.

The Puuya Foundation’s CEO and Founder lived in Lockhart River for 5.5 years and continues to spend significant time living in the community.

This has contributed greatly to the Foundation’s knowledge and understanding of the lives of the residents of Lockhart River.

The legitimacy of the partnership between the Foundation and the residents of Lockhart River is of such strength that many members of the local community regard the Foundation as their own. This authentic relationship based on mutual respect, shared learning, community engagement and legitimate empowerment is the key strength of the Puuya Foundation.

The organisation takes its name from the traditional Kuuku Ya’u language; one of the six major traditional Aboriginal language groups of those who live in the local Lockhart River community. ‘Puuya’ means life force, and was chosen as the name of the foundation because it represents the philosophy of the local community and is consistent with the Puuya Foundation’s goal of developing everyday leaders to empower local communities.

Since its inception the Puuya Foundation has delivered many outcomes that have advanced the empowerment of the community, simultaneously making significant progress towards achieving their mission, the enhancement of quality of life for the people of Lockhart River. As the leadership skills of the community continue to be developed and enhanced, new opportunities for strategic, sustainable, game-changing projects will continue to grow.