Regional Gathering creates new opportunities and lasting connections for Indigenous women

Women play a very important role in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Creating a culturally supportive environment in which they can explore issues that affect their lives and discuss the needs and wants of their communities is key to creating positive, lasting change.

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Women play a very important role in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Creating a culturally supportive environment in which they can explore issues that affect their lives and discuss the needs and wants of their communities is key to creating positive, lasting change.

In November, more than 100 Indigenous women came together from across NSW for the inaugural Central West and Murdi Paaki Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women’s Gathering.

The gathering was an opportunity for them to share perspectives and exchange information, and to come up with innovative ideas and strategies to improve their lives and help their communities. Women from remote and isolated communities connected with other organisations and communities and established new support networks.

Topics for sessions and workshops included culture, health, education and financial opportunities, energy efficiency, trans-generational trauma, as well as weaving and creative art workshops. The sessions were facilitated by the Department of Fair Trading, Family Planning, the Department of Education, TAFE, The Smith Family and ICV.

ICV’s NSW Regional Coordinator Mel Shipp was part of the Steering Committee, and ICV staff volunteered their time to help ensure the gathering ran smoothly.

The gathering was a huge success and will become an annual event. The women appreciated the opportunity to come together, connect, share stories and yarn about what’s important to them and their communities.

“I can’t wait for the next one, it was amazing,” says Kim Peters, Sector Development Officer at ACT Council of Social Service (ACTCOSS). “We just don’t realise how important it is for us to take time out for ourselves and this is what the gathering meant to me. There were important services available for us relevant to our needs, both professional or personal. Many connections and networks were made during the arts and crafts workshops with many healthy and happy conversations generated. All I can say is that it was an awesome uplifting rejuvenating experience.”