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Canberra Weekly: Hannah & Heidi’s Great Ydeas

Credit: Stephen Corey and Canberra Weekly Magazine

Credit: Stephen Corey and Canberra Weekly Magazine

YWCA Promotes Young Women’s ‘Great Ydeas’

Source: Canberra Weekly Magazine

Author: Kimberley Granger

Five opportunities for young women to make a difference to their own lives and the lives of the people around them have come in the form of a grant from YWCA of Canberra. The Great Ydeas grants were awarded at the recent Round the World Breakfast, with the aim to help women achieve their potential. Following the announcement of their individual wins, young Canberrans Hannah Wandel and Heidi Zajac have been flat out, juggling full-time work and planning and preparing their projects to put into practice what they’ve been working on for a number of years.

Photo: Stephen Corey and Canberra Weekly Magazine. Shot on location at Federation Mall near Parliament House, Canberra.

Photo: Stephen Corey and Canberra Weekly Magazine. Shot on location at Federation Mall near Parliament House, Canberra.

Hannah and Heidi’s ideas centre on gender equality and empowerment, and they are hoping to promote better opportunities for young women. Heidi is passionate about equality for women, after much research and a visit to Canberra’s friendship city Dili, in Timor Leste (East Timor), she hopes to introduce a project called Cooking Circles to young women in Dili and in Canberra. “I was reading about the struggles of Timor and it got to me, it horrified me and it moved me. I wanted to get to Dili and see the country for myself. I packed up and went, and I was there for a short time helping women to establish a YWCA in Timor,” Heidi says. The initial aim of Heidi’s Cooking Circles is to encourage women to identify and mobilise their strengths by empowering them to do something they enjoy. Heidi hopes the project will connect women in Dili and Canberra through cooking – through sharing recipes and methods on social media – to learn from one another and to create a group of women who are confident in their worth and abilities. Heidi is hoping to engage restaurants in Canberra to be the hub for women wanting to join Cooking Circles. “Hopefully the project in the short term is contributing to women developing skills, developing their confidence and also forming networks and friendships…And then that goes on to effect gender equality because women are more empowered,” says Heidi. Country to Canberra is the name of Hannah’s project, which aims to give Year 11 girls growing up in regional areas the opportunity to travel to Canberra and meet with community leaders and tour Parliament House and the National Gallery of Australia. Hannah hopes the trip will motivate leadership and leadership potential, but also get women to acknowledge gender equality in their community, by writing an essay on the topic as an application to the program.

Hannah and Heidi discuss their 'Great Ydeas'

Hannah and Heidi discuss their ‘Great Ydeas’

“I loved growing up in the country; you do realise though that there are geographical barriers in addition to gender barriers. It’s harder sometimes for people in the country to get to their state’s capital city, let alone get to Canberra, so this is sort of helping to bridge that gap to an extent,” says Hannah. The initial aim for Hannah is to bring one Year 11 girl to visit Canberra for a day later this year, however Hannah’s hope is that extra funding will allow one other Year 11 student to participate in the initial program. Heidi and Hannah are both grateful to the YWCA of Canberra for providing seed funding for their projects and say they have “hit the ground running” to ensure their projects take off. With community support, the young women are hoping to expand the reach of their projects. To contact Hannah about Country to Canberra, email contact@countrytocanberra.com.au or call 0418 135 989. To contact Heidi about Cooking Circles, email heidizajac@gmail.com To find out more about the YWCA of Canberra, visit ywca-canberra.org.au

– Kimberley Granger