Girls gain strength via special program
■ Roebourne Girls Academy students gathered with elders and teachers at the Strong Women’s Dinner at Cossack last Wednesday for a celebration of the achievements of young women in the community.
The dinner was the culmination of the two-day Roebourne Girls Academy Strong Women program, which aims to build self-esteem and cultural awareness among Aboriginal girls.
The group spent two full days with several local Aboriginal women and guest speaker Kageni Njeru, who talked about adversity which they had personally overcome.
Academy program manager Elisa George said the program was all about giving the girls a space where they felt comfortable to be successful.
“There can be a lot of shame amongst their peers around the girls being successful and having dreams,” she said.
“We were talking to the girls about supporting each other and growing into strong women; it’s all about increasing their self-esteem and enforcing that idea that it’s OK to be a confident woman.
“The girls who have come to school and had a high level of attendance have got to attend this special dinner.”
Year 7 Roebourne student Katie Healey said her two years with the academy had helped her realise her dream of becoming a marine biologist.
“It was nice for the girls to come together tonight and feel special,” she said.
“I have been involved with the academy since it started two years ago; it’s made me become very confident.
“We’ve learnt that to go to school and finish school at Year 12, you can get along life very easy.”
Roebourne elder Tootsie Daniel said the idea behind the program had resonated deeply with female elders in the town.
“I’m happy that the academy is in Roebourne … it’s like doors are opening for these young ones and they’re going to be strong leaders when they grow up too.
“It’s a warm feeling seeing the girls so happy.”
Woodside regional communities manager Rob McPhee said the Strong Women Program provided the girls with important lessons they could draw upon when faced with challenges in their lives.
The Roebourne Girls Academy Strong Women program is run with Role Models Australia and Roebourne District High School and is proudly supported by the Woodside-operated North West Shelf Project through the Karratha Education Initiative.
Roebourne Girls Academy students at the Strong Women’s Dinner at Cossack last week.
The dinner attracted elders, students and teachers from the Roebourne community.