From the 15th to the 26th May a team of 30 volunteers are tackling one of the most extreme trail walks in Australia, and they are doing it all for charity. A total of 27 walkers and 3 support crew, including employees from Perpetual, Telstra, IAG, Broadspectrum and NPY Women’s Council, two self-employed people and insurance brokers. Volunteers are coming from the NT, South Australia, WA, Queensland, NSW and Victoria, having trained, planned and saved they are all paying their own way to central Australia to raise funds for NPY Women’s Council.
The 27 walkers are climbing mountain ridges, clambering through numerous gorges and tackling extreme conditions on the Larapinta Extreme Trail, an epic challenge that is recommended to take 3 weeks, but these bold adventurers are attempting to complete their expedition in just 11 days!
Awaiting their arrival at the Old Telegraph Station on 26th May will be a celebration of their achievements: mental, physical, emotional, and of course fundraising! All of this work has been done to support the Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Women’s Council (NPYWC) and their annual Law and Culture meeting.
The event started as a result Tony Messenger’s, secondment to the NPYWC in 2013-2014. At the time he was working as Program Manager for Transformation and Change, at IAG. During his secondment he gained an understanding of the importance of the NPYWC’s Annual Law and Culture meeting and decided to create an event to raise vital funds. From the seed of a simple idea numerous volunteers hopped on-board to participate, offer their help or donate, and the response has been overwhelming.
You can see profiles of all the participants at their website, as well as make a donation at their donations page. The whole team would like to thank you for your ongoing support and invite you to follow their progress.
The NPY Women’s Council Law and Culture meeting focuses on empowering women to speak up on matters important to them, including preserving indigenous traditions and upholding policy and law in their communities. These gatherings provide an opportunity for women from the NPY region to come together to celebrate and consolidate their traditional cultural practices and identity, often drawing between 120-150 women to their meetings. The annual gathering contributes to these women’s ability to deal with the sometimes overwhelming pressures and difficulties of their daily lives, for example responding to serious family matters including drug and alcohol addictions of family members, domestic and other violence, or the challenge of caring for disabled or aged family members. Women from the NPY region hold Law and Culture meetings in high regard because they are a forum where they can come together from across the NPY tri-state:
- To exchange of traditional knowledge and ceremonial cycles;
- To perform dances and ceremonial cycles in order to confirm the importance and power of women’s law;
- To promote the position and status of senior Aboriginal women from the Ngaanyatjarra, Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara communities;
- For the purpose of exposing younger women and women dispossessed of their culture to particular practices, they may gain an understanding of their heritage.
Women only Law and Culture meetings allow NPYWC members to pursue a part of life that is quite separate from that of their men, strengthen their ties with one another, their land and important sites. Ongoing feedback and internal program evaluations show consistently that members view their Law and Culture as one of the most empowering, unifying and important aspects of their lives.