Girls From Oz
In 2016, successful grant recipients Girls from Oz received $28,000 from 100 Women members towards the delivery of an intensive performing arts program, where ten music and dance educators taught 55 Aboriginal girls and up to five women elders as well as local teachers and teacher aides in Halls Creek, in the East Kimberley region of WA.
Prospects for girls in Halls Creek are poor with less than 13% finishing school to year 11, 4% not attending, and unemployment at 15.4%. Girls from Oz were invited to Halls Creek in 2009 to address this need and to develop a way to increase the engagement of Aboriginal girls in school and community life as well as exposing them to a range of learning environments for further training, education and leadership.
Who are Girls from Oz?
In 2006, directors and senior staff of the Australian School of Performing Arts articulated their shared dream of delivering high-quality performing arts education to girls who lacked access to these opportunities because of their location or socioeconomic status.
Driven by a firm belief that Performing Arts participation enhances education and employment outcomes and that all girls should have equal access to Performing Arts opportunities they envisioned a not-for-profit organisation that would provide innovative, education-based performing arts programs.
Drawing on more than 30 years of experience through the Australian Girls Choir and the Australian School of Performing Arts, Girls from Oz (g-oz) was founded, based on a tried and tested arts engagement model, and the knowledge that effective participation in the performing arts has a multitude of benefits for those who take part.
Girls from Oz have a vision to foster a sense of belonging and connectedness between girls and their community, giving them the assurance to speak and perform in front of their peers and families and to feel proud of their achievements as empowered, resilient and confident young women.
“My name is Chloe and I love g-oz because we get to learn new dances and songs and when I did the performance my mum, my dad and my two little brothers came to watch me perform. And after that performance my dad said that he was so proud of me when I did it.”
What did the funding from 100 Women achieve?
“Our 100 Women grant gave Girls from Oz the start we needed to achieve a three-way connection between the school-aged girls we work with, local women who hold language and culture and our g-oz team members who use their music and teaching skills to partner with the women to translate, transcribe and teach songs in traditional language” Kylie Lee Archer of g-oz said.
“Our project was based in Halls Creek but we are now exploring language and song projects in Lockhart River and Kowanyama in Far North Queensland and will begin soon in Bidyadanga in the Kimberley”
Key Outcomes from the Halls Creek project:
- 295 participants from Halls Creek District High School (HCDHS) and Little Nuggets Early Learning Centre
- 104 workshops
- 28 participants involved in one community performance
- Promotional footage shot and edited
• Improved school attendance,
• Improved confidence to perform in front of people,
• Increased engagement in future opportunities,
• Greater clarity about the fact that if they can perform in front of their own community, they can perform anywhere.
“Public performance is still a major hurdle for many of our students and we anticipated fewer than 20 would have the confidence to perform. We were thrilled when 28 girls stepped up to the challenge and their performance included them singing part of “I am Australian” in language which brought tears to the eyes of a number of people in the audience. The girls were on an absolute high after the performance; they were congratulated by their family and friends and were walking on air. At the performance de-brief the next morning, they proudly told stories about what their parents and friends had to say”
View the thank you video to 100 Women below.