Grant to guide girl leadership

Girl Guides are all smiles on a camp.

By Casey Neill

Afghan women and girls can gain confidence and leadership skills through a new Girl Guides group.
On the United Nations’ International Day of the Girl Child, the State Government announced a grant to Girl Guides Victoria to deliver the project in Greater Dandenong and Casey.
CEO Jennifer Fleming said Guides would work with Dandenong’s Southern Migrant and Refugee Centre (SMRC) on the two-year project.
“Our intention is to train young Afghan women to be Girl Guide leaders,” she said.
“They’ll do that by starting a couple of new units from their community.
“They’ll be doing apprenticeship-style training with girls.
“The unit’s a really great program from our perspective because we get to train new leaders and involve girls for whom girl guides would probably normally be out of reach.”
Ms Fleming said SMRC would help Guides connect with interested women and girls in the community through its relationships.
Guides will then speak to the women about where they’d like the unit to be run.
“It’ll be at a place where they’ll feel comfortable,” she said.
“We’ll start training the new leaders in the new year, after summer holidays are over.”
Ms Fleming hopes the unit will be up and running by the start of Term 2.
“We’re looking for any women from the community interested in being leaders,” she said.
“We’re keen to train and support them.”
She said the Office of Multicultural Affairs and Citizenship was sponsoring the grant with a view to young women in the community gaining leadership skills, self-confidence and self-esteem and decreasing their chances of becoming family violence victims.
The project is one of 17 family violence and gender equality projects funded through the State Government’s new $16 million Capacity Building and Participation Program.
It’s designed to encourage greater participation and inclusiveness within culturally and linguistically diverse communities.
Minister for Women and the Prevention of Family Violence Fiona Richardson said International Day of the Girl Child shone a spotlight on why supporting young girls was so critical to breaking the cycle of disadvantage.
“When we support girls to reach their full potential, we see community-wide benefits,” she said.
Multicultural Affairs Minister Robin Scott said “our diversity is our strength” and he was proud to support Victoria’s first group of Afghan Girl Guides.
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