Skip to main content
Back to News and media
Friday, 01 Dec 2023

Galiwin'ku women get stronger through local jobs

Galiwin'ku women get stronger through local jobs

Rita Gurruwiwi is one of the many Yolngu Miyalk (women) who have gained employment with Miyalk Kitchen. She has big dreams for the strong women of her community and works with those in the Miyalk Kitchen on Galiwin'ku.

The Miyalk support each other to build skills and grow their confidence through employment opportunities that are meeting a commercial need in the region.

‘We want to bring more women here,’ said Rita. ‘When you work you feel better, you have money and can provide for your family. Work is good.’

Rita is a part of a group of 20 women being mentored in the Miyalk Kitchen, a commercial enterprise set up by the Arnhem Land Progress Aboriginal Corporation (ALPA) as part of trials being run under the Australian Government’s Community Development Program (CDP) reforms.

For the Galiwin'ku community, the Miyalk Kitchen is providing long term jobs for local women who are receiving accredited training to support their employment and help them achieve financial independence and create intergenerational change.

Working with the Galiwin'ku community in the Northern Territory, ALPA – Australian’s largest Indigenous owned corporation – established the Miyalk Kitchen to grow local industry and enterprise, while providing meals for contractors visiting the island and aspirations to provide low cost dining options for members of the community.

Pathways Manager Cheryllee Hodgson said collectively there was a real sense of pride and ownership amongst the women.

‘The ladies have ownership of this program and they hold themselves accountable,’ she said. ‘They know it’s theirs and they work together as a team, working in pairs so that everyone is supported in their learning.’

The program is also creating pathways for families, with a number of women bringing sisters and other family members to work with them in the trial.

‘It’s good for young people too, we’re showing a pathway for our children,’ said Rita, who believes having a job helps the women feel strong in the Balanda (Western) world and at home.

‘These women are strong in Yolngu culture and these jobs are supporting them to be strong in the western way by working, building and being part of a business,’ said Cheryllee.

‘We wouldn’t be able to do it without them, but there was a need to eliminate barriers to employment such as transport for the ladies and modes of teaching.’

As a result, there is growing interest in the program among local women, as well as beyond the Galiwin'ku community.

Rita’s dreams for the future of the Miyalk Kitchen include a nice outdoor area for customers to dine in, new uniforms and taking the program to other communities so they too can benefit from the opportunity.

ALPA shares this vision to create employment for Yolngu.

‘ALPA helps bring the Balanda world and Yolngu world together, in a way that supports self-determination and builds pride and strength for Yolngu people,’ said ALPA Deputy Chairman Micky Wunungmurra. ‘Anyone can join us and be part of our story.’

Miyalk Kitchen have been supporting women into jobs, with 18 women securing paid work while 21 receive some form of benefit, such as hospitality training and assistance to address barriers like transport and health issues. In addition, the project established a kitchen as a new enterprise.

The Miyalk Kitchen project is a Community Development Program (CDP) Pathways to Real Jobs.

Related News