Ngalingah Minjung Dubais (Our Happy Women in Bundjalung) is a YWCA program that uses art, storytelling and cultural knowledge to build leadership skills and women’s networks and fosters intergenerational collaboration.
Our Happy Women uses a community development framework where the group is determined and directed by Aboriginal women. The art works produced by the women come from the heart and many tell personal stories of healing and hope for the future.
The group has developed a range of textile arts which have been showcased at pop-up shops, fashion parades, art exhibitions and market stalls providing an opportunity to ‘try’, test’ and ‘learn’ business and interpersonal skills. Each phase of this journey has increased skills and confidence and puts Our Happy Women in control of creating their own future.
The women attending the group are empowered through creating art and connecting with Elders and Community. This results in increased self-esteem and confidence and the uptake of skills such as handling cash transactions, food preparation and workplace safety. Some women have gained employment or started their own business, have commenced study or have gone on to further study and, all have developed a stronger connection to their culture. OHW has also participated in many strengthening events supporting organisations and their families in Reconciliation Action Plans, Yarning Circles, Conferences and Art and Cultural Events all over the greater Bundjalung area.
The program was recently showcased at the Serpentine Art Gallery for Reconciliation Week and mentioned in Parliament!