Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women creating change in community

Photo: Ngarra Murray

No matter who you are, it takes courage to make a change. A initiative of Oxfam Australia, Straight Talk builds the capacity of Aboriginal and Torres Islander women as changemakers in their own communities.

At its core, Straight Talk connects Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women with the political system and empowers Aboriginal and Torres Islander women with the skills, knowledge and practical tools they need.

In short, it aims to give Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women a voice — and the power to use it.

Lisa Lui is one such woman. She participated in a Straight Talk Regional Gathering on Thursday Island along with 30 other women from across the Torres Strait and Northern Peninsula area.

“I didn’t know what to expect when I put in my application. I’m always looking for challenges.  This is just what I needed.” said Lisa.

“I wanted to learn about the system and who to approach.  I had no interest in politicians until now”.

Like many participants, Lisa has a passion for young people within her community.

“I’m trying to put something in place to work with these kids (on Thursday Island) and get myself skilled up so that I can pass it on.  I’m always looking for ripple effects,” said Lisa.

“I’ve learnt about the political system, have a better understanding of how the system works and who I should approach so I can make the changes that I want with young people.  I have a passion for young people but I have a heart for people. ”

The program hones in on practical tools and confidence, and includes opportunities for relationship-building, information-sharing and developing strategies to implement real and positive change in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

“Now that I know more about the political system, I have to move forward and be that person to help make a change in my community”.

Straight Talk also delivers workshops on a range of community and campaign related skills specific to the local context in which they are delivered. The women have the opportunity to go into detail about solutions, or innovative programs at a community level.

Lisa says women in her community play a big role in their families and that it’s important for women to access programs like Straight Talk.

“It’s good that Oxfam came to the community, we have great leaders here, we have the knowledge, and we just need that leadership”

“Straight Talk has given me a clear message about my identity as an individual and an understanding of how things are run in my community”.

Applications for Straight Talk 2014 are closing soon.