Barunga Fashion Parade – Young Women’s Self Esteem Project 2014

Project Snapshot

An exciting first at the 29th annual Barunga Festival 2014 in the Northern Territory was the presentation of the inaugural Barunga Festival Fashion Parade by 23 young women from the YMCA Katherine Young Women’s Program.

The aim of the project is to increase self-awareness and self-confidence for girls aged between 10 and 18 years from Katherine and remote communities in the region. With a focus on health, nutrition, well-being and grooming, plus their interests and creativity in clothes and design – particularly Indigenous fabric prints and garments – the program tied in perfectly with the opportunity to present the inaugural Barunga Fashion Parade.

Young Women’s Self Esteem Project

Far too often teenage girls miss out on opportunities for involvement in activities that interest them such as music performance and football, which are nearly always dominated by the boys, despite the fact that it has long been identified that teenage girls in remote communities are particularly at risk. To address these issues YMCA Katherine delivers a weekly evening program which aims to increase self-awareness and self-confidence for girls aged between 10 and 18 from Katherine and the region. One area of interest was obvious – access to hairdressing, cosmetics, make-up artistry, clothes and other things that teenage girls elsewhere in Australia just take for granted but are simply not available in remote communities.

In April 2014 the NT News photographed the girls in action.

Barunga Festival Fashion Parade

For the first time in the Festival’s history, and with the assistance of the Gurrumul Foundation, a Fashion Parade was programmed, giving the 23 girls and 8 adults from the YMCA Girl’s Project an opportunity to showcase and celebrate their talents – a reward for all the hard work that has taken place during the year.

The modelling team and behind the scenes crew all contributed to preparations which included stage setup, selecting music, hair & makeup, organising dresses & shoes, practising running order and timing of the catwalk. The girls modelled a selection of day wear and evening wear dresses and walked to the music of their role model Jessica Mauboy.

After the Parade the whole team were completely pumped and buzzing, as organisers expressed how proud they were of the huge team effort and success – all the hard work and dedication had definitely paid off.

“We would like to acknowledge the great leadership and team work skills shown by the girls. Since the Parade their confidence and self-esteem has absolutely shone through the roof… the whole Barunga Festival was a fantastic experience and we can’t wait till next year”
Chantal Ober, Youth Worker, YMCA Katherine.

Program outcomes

  • Improved self image, physical fitness, general health and body awareness.
  • An artistic outlet teaching discipline and team-work.
  • Developing a sense of accomplishment, pride, renewed confidence and self esteem.
  • Giving young female community members a chance to shine and showcase their talents.

2015 and onwards

The aim is for a long-term program, tied in to Barunga Festival celebrations, that could become a model for involvement of young women in many other remote communities.

For 2015 the Westpac Foundation and the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation (Eldon & Anne Foote – Donor Advised Fund) are joining YMCA Katherine and the Gurrumul Foundation as major supporters of the Young Women’s Self Esteem Program.