Northern Rivers locals are being asked to support local Aboriginal women to become social entrepreneurs through a NSW Government community funding opportunity.
Members of the YWCA Australia’s Our Happy Women program are calling on the local community to rally to support their funding application to establish a local cultural arts hub and social enterprise to transform the lives of Aboriginal women and their families, providing a vehicle for social and economic self-determination.
Aunty Mim Bolt has led Our Happy Women since 2017 and believes that receiving this funding through NSW Government’s “My Community Project” will create meaningful social change with the local Aboriginal community.
“This funding application is community-driven,” says Aunty Mim. “The women who make up Our Happy Women are the ones who told us that they wanted to use their skills and talents in printmaking and design to establish a social enterprise that has meaningful impact.”
“We know that Aboriginal women face particular challenges in accessing the networks, financial capital, and training necessary to transform their dreams into reality.”
“Our aim is to provide Aboriginal women in Northern NSW with meaningful opportunities for employment and training, to support greater economic security and increased decision-making and leadership.”
Our Happy Women program emerged in 2015 in response to the need for Aboriginal women in the Northern Rivers to come together in a culturally safe and supportive environment. The program has already made some great strides, most recently with a ‘Lady in Red’ fashion showcase at the inaugural Art on Bundjalung Festival at Lismore’s Quad. YWCA’s Louise Collins believes that funding through My Community Project could take the program to the next level.
“A social enterprise represents a proven sustainable business model that builds on the current success of the program, allowing it to expand its reach to more women in the community,” says Louise Collins.
“Members of the Our Happy Women group work with master printmaker Anne Leon to develop designs and textiles for production and Entrepreneurship Facilitator, Tanya Egerton will provide business training required to sustain a successful social enterprise.”
“Our Happy Women represents a collective of women from many nations, we come together to support each other. Our unique art and culture connect us and gives us strength. The social enterprise represents the opportunity to share these gifts with the world and to start a powerful ripple effect in the community that will build over time,” says members of Our Happy Women.
YWCA has exciting ideas to grow the proposed Our Happy Women cultural arts hub, with ideas for an online shop and crowd-funding campaigns.
“The wonderful thing about this funding opportunity is that it could just be the start of something so much bigger,” says Aunty Mim. “I can see the designs of our women going down the runway at an international fashion show or being sold in art galleries across Australia.”
“All we need is for everyone to believe in us and vote for us in My Community Project.”
Vote for Our Happy Women’s Cultural Hub atmycommunityproject.service.nsw.gov.au from 15 July till 15 August 2019. You’ll need a MyServiceNSW Account and your Medicare card to vote. It only takes a minute to sign up.