Kimberley Girl to grow with grant

Headshot of Jakeb Waddell
Jakeb WaddellBroome Advertiser
Contestants take the catwalk in last year’s Kimberley Girl heats.
Camera IconContestants take the catwalk in last year’s Kimberley Girl heats. Credit: Jakeb Waddell

Young indigenous women participating in one of the State’s most-acclaimed development programs will now be offered further support thanks to nearly half a million dollars of funding.

Lotterywest granted $450,000 to Broome Aboriginal Media Association last week to bolster the Kimberley Girl, Pilbara Girl and Goldfields Girl initiatives for the next 18 months.

Having run for the past 15 years, Kimberley Girl uses modelling as a way to engage indigenous girls aged 16 to 25 and teaches them a variety of skills, including leadership, positive image, public speaking and workplace readiness, before culminating in a catwalk finale to crown the winner.

After its success, it expanded across the State to help communities in the Pilbara and Goldfields.

The funding has extended the programs to 12 months to provide training and support before and after the official portion of the initiative. The money will be used to hire officers in each of the regions to roll out the extra support, with the remainder of the grant used to develop a business case and evaluation of the project to ensure future funding.

Goolarri Media chief operations officer and program founder Kira Fong said the money was crucial in delivering outcomes for the participants.

“We are extremely thankful for the Lotterywest grant and developing a business case will help us to look beyond this 18 months and where we can get to,” she said.

“It is very satisfying and a great opportunity for us to show the influence we can have on the lives of these girls and also a chance for the girls to show what they are capable of if they are given support. We will use this grant as leverage to gain committed funding for the future sustainability of the program.”

Ms Fong said she could not stress enough that the program is far more than just a fashion pageant. “Modelling is used as the hook or drawcard to get the girls in but the program is so much more than that,” she said.

“What we will do over the next 18 months is prove that this can deliver true results to help these girls succeed.

“There is a lot of support for girls during their formal school years but there seems to be a gap after high school when most really need it as they no longer have structure and routine in their life and that is what we can now really focus on.”

Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan said the programs bring the wider community together to celebrate accomplishments.

“Young Aboriginal women in the Kimberley, Pilbara and Goldfields regions will be empowered with educational skills to open employment pathways and improve their confidence and self-esteem,” she said. “This tailored program provides participants with a unique skill set to contribute positively to their community.”

This year’s Kimberley Girl heat will be on September 28, with the finals on October 5.

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