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Community & Business

11 May, 2022

KYUP takes on Gilgandra

Thirty Gilgandra girls attended KYUP last month, a personal safety and empowerment class for girls.

By Emily Middleton

The class was run by the familiar face of Mel Thomas, Gilgandra’s Australia Day ambassador who presented her story at this year’s celebrations.

“They were phenomenal, the girls were such a plea- sure. A highlight of my trip,” said Ms Thomas.

“The girls really appreciated the workshop, they got stuck into it, and because they have a lot going on they really valued it.” KYUP has just wrapped up travelling through regional NSW for classes, including Orange, Dubbo, and Wellington.

Ms Thomas said the feedback was overwhelmingly positive. A lot of the feedback consisted of “can we do this again?” and “I am so thankful for the lesson today”. One participant’s feedback said, “thank you for coming

to teach us and help us protect ourselves”. KYUP has been around since 2013, and was Ms Thomas’ response to a wave of assault around her local area in Sydney.

“I wanted to create something that would help break the cycle of violence and empower girls. To stand up for themselves, and to stand up for each other,” said Ms Thomas.

KYUP works with children all over the country. Gilgandra’s group consisted of girls aged nine-to-16- years, and Ms Thomas said everyone created a judgement free space where everyone was equal.

“I loved every minute at these workshops with these kids, and the Gilgandra girls all worked together to help each other out, it was beautiful to see.”

KYUP was one of the youth week activity highlights, and was held at Gilgandra Shire Hall during the school holidays.

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