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Award winning Australian singer-songwriter Josh Pyke launches fundraiser, Busking For Change

Jackie Evans Publicity 3 mins read

After a successful pilot program in 2022, Busking For Change, is launching nationally and primary schools across the country are invited to be Busking For Change change makers.

Busking For Change is a simple and joyful fundraiser. Students commit to learn to sing, play an instrument or dance to a given song, and seek donations from family and friends.

Money raised supports the Indigenous Literacy Foundation (ILF) and the access and creation of books for children in remote Communities across Australia, where resources are limited. 

The charity event was initiated by five-time ARIA award-winner and ILF Lifetime Ambassador, Josh Pyke in 2009, and subsequently raised over $50,000.

“I always thought it could be more than just a pub gig,” says Josh. “Music is a joyful celebration individually or as a group. Busking For Change shares this celebration along with raising funds for the ILF to support more kids in remote Communities to access and write and illustrate their own stories or songs in the languages they speak at home. Busking For Change, sums it up!”

This year, four celebrated First Nations musicians, Jeremy Marou, DOBBY, Tilly Tjala Thomas and Aodhan  have jumped on board to support and promote Busking For Change. Collectively, they share Josh's passion for musical literacy and his vision to inspire young change makers and support First Nations literacy in remote Communities.

 The 2023 song is Words MakeThe World Go Around, a single created through an inspiring collaboration between ILF Ambassadors Josh Pyke, Justine Clarke, Deborah Cheetham and students from the Gawura School, St Andrews Cathedral School, in Sydney. Busking For Change students are encouraged to learn the entire song or just the chorus in Kriol.

A new Busking For Change website provides schools with the charts, lyrics, instructional videos and support that allows teachers and students to learn the song in both English and Kriol. The good news is, teachers don’t have to be experienced musicians to participate. 

“If you can’t play an instrument, you can sing along, dance along, or simply read the lyrics aloud,” encourages Josh. Busking For Change aligns with the National Curriculum languages, music, art, drama and encourages the next generation of change makers.

“But most importantly it is fun,” says Josh Pyke, “and it encourages discussions around First Nations affairs, languages, literacy and civic duty.”

ILF CEO, Ben Bowen, is excited about the fundraiser and the opportunity for primary students around Australia to learn words in a First Nations language.

“It expands the literacy lens to include music, singing and movement. And learning this catchy song in an Aboriginal language ties in with a goal of UNESCO’s Decade of Indigenous Languages (2022-2032), to promote First Nations languages. The money raised helps us to support remote Communities to access and create books in languages they chose. It’s a win-win,” says Bowen.

 Here's how it works:

  • Students commit to learning to play, sing, or dance to a song
  • Students gather support/donations from their friends and family
  • Once students master the song, they ‘busk’ or perform their rendition collectively or individually to their friends, family, school, or post a video online.

Primary schools can sign up now for the fundraiser, which will start nationally in week one of Term 3 and culminates with entire schools, classrooms, groups or individual students performing their final busk on Indigenous Literacy Day, Wednesday 6 September.

Indigenous Literacy Day is a national celebration of First Nation peoples’ stories, cultures and languages. Josh is keen to see schools across Australia engage with this day and sing a song in an Aboriginal language.

“It is something they will remember for years to come,” says Josh. “The joyful song and the knowledge they have contributed to something bigger than themselves.”

Schools are encouraged to sign up before the start of Term 3.        

Registrations are open now via the website 

About us:

The Indigenous Literacy Foundation (ILF) is a charity of the Australian book industry, with an ambition to provide remote First Nations remote Communities with the literacy resources they want to support their aspirations for Community and Culture. The charity receives no government funding and relies on the generosity of donors to deliver its three programs, Book Buzz, Book Supply and Community Publishing Projects.        ­#BuskingForChange #BFC2023    ­­        



Contact details:

Jackie Evans 0407 776 222 or 


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