Chamika transforms through the KGI

Chamika, 18 of Quandamooka, playing Youth Girls football
Chamika, 18 of Quandamooka, playing Youth Girls football

“Its programs like this that help young Aboriginal people like myself find their way.”

I first joined the Korin Gamadji Insitute (KGI) program in 2012 and I’ll admit I was scared. Meeting so many new people was intimidating. I was 15 at the time and not as confident as I am now.

I remember the moment things changed for me. I was standing in front of the group doing a speech and all of a sudden, I looked around and felt like everyone in that room was my childhood friend. From then on, I had the gift of the gab.
Since my first REAL Camp I have attended five programs, four as a peer leader. That was different at first. I was used to listening and participating and then I had to step up and take on new responsibilities. I had to be the one to get other people to listen. But now I want to keep helping and become a leader. And then go onto working at the Richmond Football Club. I have almost completed Year 12 and want to play women’s football but if that doesn’t work out, then I am looking at a career in the sports industry.

I am passionate about the need for Indigenous programs within elite sporting clubs. It was the Richmond name that sparked my interest and it definitely makes Indigenous players feel more comfortable at the club.

A lot of young people find it really hard to find jobs. Football clubs have endless pathways into career networks. They have media and corporate support so can publicize programs like this that help young Aboriginal people like myself find their way.

Through KGI I have also been involved with the Digital Story Telling Project at ACMI, I have danced at the Dreamtime VFL Match, spoken at two Dreamtime Presidents Functions and just coached the LaGuntas Sistas junior side.

When I came to KGI I knew nothing about my Aboriginality but now I speak proudly at NAIDOC events and even won NAIDOC Youth of the Year for my local community.


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