Project making dreams a reality for indigenous women

DIAMONDS, Pearls and Rural Girls is a networking and community building project focused on indigenous women living in country NSW.

More than a project manager, Juanita Wanda Halden is almost a fairy godmother to a growing number of young women across the Northern Rivers.

NETWORKING: Diamonds, Pearls and Rural Girls is a networking project for indigenous women. Pictured is project co-ordinators, from front left, Ellen Wilson, Juanita Wanda Halden, Bianca Gonos and Brigid Mary. Participants in the program, from back left, Crystal Ross, Arna Stevens, Jamika Gray, Billie-Dee Roberts, Isla Buchanan, Tayla Gray and Tabitha Galvin.
NETWORKING: Diamonds, Pearls and Rural Girls is a networking project for indigenous women. Pictured is project co-ordinators, from front left, Ellen Wilson, Juanita Wanda Halden, Bianca Gonos and Brigid Mary. Participants in the program, from back left, Crystal Ross, Arna Stevens, Jamika Gray, Billie-Dee Roberts, Isla Buchanan, Tayla Gray and Tabitha Galvin. Cathy Adams

Diamonds, Pearls and Rural Girls aims to empower, inspire and build cultural relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young women throughout Australia.

So far, this pilot project has attracted 13 girls and young women aged between 12 and 18.

This program will showcase a series of workshops over the weekend at Kulcha Jam in Byron Bay.

Ms Halden said the scope of the program had been kept as wide as possible to appeal to a broad range of young women.

"We are offering inspirational programs that are designed to make them feel empowered and confident," she said.

"We're mixing up hip hop, drama, dance, music, modelling and photography. We intend to trial this pilot program in 2015 and fundraise next year to develop it into an ongoing program for 2016."

Although most of the girls have expressed their intention to participate in the modelling and photo shoot workshops, not all the workshops are related to performing or beauty.

"Every girl has a dream, and we will support whatever those dreams are. One of the program participants, a 12-year-old, has indicated that she would like to be part of a shark preservation project, so we are working to link her up," Ms Halden said.

For further information on how to support or be part of the project visit http://www.dprgp.org


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