Project: The HERS Project: Hura (Free Women) Empowered Resilient Sisters
Sexual Health Quarters has received a 100 Women grant for program facilitators, venue hire, materials and catering for a series of six workshops.
The HERS Project is a peer-based, culturally safe series of workshops for 35 young culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) women aged between 13 and 25. Based in the Perth region, the program promotes education and empowerment on a range of topics related to sexual health, respectful relationships and gender equality.
Who is Sexual Health Quarters?
Sexual Health Quarters (SHQ) is the modern trading name for the Family Planning Association of WA, a long-established provider of education and services covering all aspects of sexual and reproductive health (SHR). Through their innovative clinical services, tailored counselling and inspiring education, SHQ broadens perspectives and empowers people with the skills, knowledge and confidence to make informed choices.
What project will a 100 Women grant support?
The HERS Project is a series of workshops delivered in the Perth metropolitan area that help to improve health, safety, educational and economic outcomes for young CALD women. Participants build a vital understanding of gender equality and SHR and gain skills to protect their safety and the safety of others. Underpinning the program is the development of lifelong knowledge and skills, which enable pathways to employment, independence and achievement. By empowering young CALD women to harness and celebrate their strengths, the program will support them to fulfil their potential and thrive.
Who is the project for?
Approximately 35 young CALD women will attend workshops over a two-year period. Many participants will be from disadvantaged backgrounds, be at risk of discrimination and isolation and/or have limited education or training. Participants can take their learnings back to their communities and workplaces.
Central to the project will be a two-year traineeship for a Project Health Educator from the CALD community. The trainee will support project delivery and receive experience in delivering culturally secure sexual health education and professional training as a co-facilitator. At the conclusion of the program, the trainee will be highly employable. A further two, former participants, will be employed as CALD Peer Educators, receiving support and training.
Why is the project needed?
CALD women face unique challenges when seeking positive outcomes in health, safety, education, workforce participation and leadership. They often experience multiple barriers and disadvantage, including racism, family and domestic violence, complex trauma, caring responsibilities, geographical and social isolation, traditional cultural expectations and dependence on male partners.
Access to culturally appropriate, trauma-informed programs that build knowledge and confidence, respectful relationships, gender equality, consent, rights and autonomy can positively impact a range of outcomes for participants including their physical and mental health, safety, education and career prospects. In addition to providing education that will help young CALD women make informed choices, The HERS Project will empower participants to seek increased community and workforce participation, building future resilience.
Why is The HERS Project the best option?
The HERS Project builds on the success of an earlier pilot program, which won the Youth Affairs Council of WA, 2021 Large Organisation Achievement Award. Research evaluation by Curtin University provided strong evidence of the project’s effectiveness and the need for continuation and expansion. Noted outcomes included significant increased awareness, knowledge and confidence in human rights, respectful relationships and consent.
Following the pilot, many participants gained meaningful employment, and some were invited to share their stories at other external events. Notably, all participants developed the confidence and skills to become strong role models to other young CALD women in their communities, helping to foster future leaders. The pilot achieved its aim of empowering participants to feel comfortable and confident having conversations about SRH, with many participants being willing to share the information they learnt with others.
Why is Sexual Health Quarters best placed to achieve success?
SHQ has vast experience in SRH community education and working with young CALD people, as well as strong relationships with complementary referral services in the immigration, trauma and legal space. With the development and delivery of the pilot, they formed a strong partnership with the Association for Services to Torture and Trauma Survivors (ASeTTS). ASeTTS has vast experience working with this demographic, as a specialist provider of services to individuals who are humanitarian entrants or are from a refugee background, and who have experienced torture or trauma in their country of origin, during their journey to Australia, or while in detention. The consultation and collaboration will continue.
What are the planned outcomes?
Participants will grow their knowledge of SRH, gender-based violence, respectful relationships and human rights. This knowledge will equip participants to identify inappropriate behaviours and to seek help. They will gain improved resilience and life skills (leadership, communication, decision-making, assertiveness, empathy) preparing them for workforce and community participation.
The HERS Project will promote employment opportunities and the development of role-models in the CALD community, inspiring young women to become future leaders.
Are there any notable partners?
The HERS project involves specialist facilitators from ASeTTS and Circle Green Community Legal, who are both experienced service delivery providers to the CALD community.