"Something life changing is happening in the Kimberley ...but we could use some help on the journey. Literally." Indigenous women from the Fitzroy Valley remote communities are taking up playing Australian rules football at an astounding rate.
The enthusiasm and thrill of the women playing the game that men have traditionally dominated for years has created an opportunity like no other for the communities in which they live.
Over 150 women from Bayulu, Wangkatjungka, Muludja, Yakanarra, Noonkanbah and Mowanjum have formed six teams to participate in the Central Kimberley Football league on a weekly basis over twenty weeks. Older women, young women, women of all levels of ability have been embracing training and games.
Learning the rules, how to kick and handball, how to bounce an oval shaped ball, team positions, looking after equipment and uniforms, payment of fees, organizing the kids so they can play are all part and parcel of the thrill.
Having taken up playing they have also assumed positions of responsibility in managing, coaching, umpiring and administering their clubs. In some cases they have even assisted in the role of supporting the men's teams.
Not only are health and well being outcomes being achieved by their participation they are now becoming more involved in aspects of community life such as community governance.
But these positive outcomes for community function are being threatened by something quite basic.
The largest obstacle for most of the women is they have to travel huge distances [up to 265 kilometres one way] to play. Riding on the back of trucks or in crowded Troop carriers across desert gravel roads to get to the highway, to then find a lift into town.
Then do it all in reverse to get home.
Lack of community vehicles and the resources to maintain and fuel them [and competing with the men for seats on the truck] are a major impediment to the women fulfilling their dream of footy fun and the associated spin offs of that.
The Central Kimberley Football League is looking for funding to assist these communities help their women get into town and home again. Resources to access and maintain vehicles, purchase fuel and to pay drivers to facilitate the continued ability to participate.
Please 'kick in'......
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