MISS Naidoc Perth winner Sophie Coffin credits a program designed to empower Aboriginal women with leadership opportunities for the encouragement she needed to enter the competition.
The 22-year-old said others involved with the Yorga Djenna Bidi program guided her to apply for the title she ultimately won during Naidoc Week, last month.
“I wouldn’t have done it if the other women didn’t encourage me to do so,” she said.
“From those women, I learnt a lot about what it means to be an Aboriginal woman and to find strength within myself.”
Yorga Djenna Bidi started in 2015, with 40 women to date having completed the five-month Aboriginal women’s leadership initiative.
This year’s graduates were the first under the independent control of the WA Aboriginal Leadership Institute, which co-chair Robyn Smith-Walley said gave the program ownership by Aboriginal people.
“The first two courses were under Leadership WA’s framework but using lots of additions of Aboriginal culture,” she said.
“The women have worked together over the past five months to learn about themselves as leaders, gaining confidence and skills to identify where they can work together to improve Western Australia.”
Graduates of the program are eligible to join the Leadership Working Group, joining leaders to drive change and opportunities for future program graduates.
The program is open to women from all Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander backgrounds.