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Meet Rikisha, entrepreneur and student in the Young Women Rising Program

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

When speaking to Rikisha, you wouldn’t believe she is only 15 years old. While she may be young, she has big aspirations and a clear plan of how she can reach her goals, already proving that through her accomplishments so far.

In March this year, Rikisha joined the Young Women Rising Program at North Regional TAFE, a program that supports young girls who are disengaged from the traditional school system to find their passion in more creative industries. These units include but are not limited to horticulture, music, barista, and beauty. The program gives girls the opportunity to learn valuable life skills such as finding their independence through managing their finances and money. Linking in with Headspace and Boab Health, the partnership also assists the girls to learn about mindfulness and how to understand and work through their emotions.

Kera, Aboriginal Education Support Officer, and a mentor for Rikisha said, “the Young Women Rising Program allows the girls to get a taste for different industries to build a pathway to employment.”

Rikisha said, “I joined out of my own interest. Initially, I was interested in beauty and wanted to make native beauty products, but now I want to continue with my studies. I enjoy the program because it helps me build on my communication skills.”

When meeting Rikisha you are instantly taken aback by the way her maturity and ambitious mindset shines through her personality. But her resilience hasn’t come without facing challenges that no young person should have to face. After going through serious adversity in loss and confronting situations, she made a difficult choice to move from Perth to Broome to start a new life for herself.

“When I moved up, I was able to get my independence with Centrelink.”

Moving to Broome meant that Rikisha needed to learn how to adapt to her new life, which pushed her to find her independence and make choices to guide the direction, she wanted her life to go.

“Now, my goal is to try and focus on maintaining healthy relationships in my life.

I feel more connected in Broome, especially when I can go out bush,” said Rikisha.

One of the many things that sparked Rikisha’s interest was learning Macrame from her lecturer, Sam Scholes. Rikisha said that the technique and focus that is needed to make Macrame, helps keep her mind at ease.

 “It helps make me feel calm. I have a lot of anxiety and can overthink, but it’s [Macrame] something that I need to focus on which takes my mind off my thoughts.”

Rikisha has also channelled her people and money skills to start her own business selling candles, called Karlup-Bardan. The name of her business comes from her home Noongar language. “Karlup” means fireplace and home/heart country, and “Bardin” means your soul and your spirit. “Your home is where your country is.”

“I want to learn to run my own business and maintain customer needs. It’s about starting with small steps to big steps.”

Rikisha was fortunate enough to help run a workshop and sell her candles at the 2022 North Regional TAFE, Broome campus NAIDOC Week celebrations. There, she was approached to run work workshops at Nyirrwa Murrgurlayi to help other women to learn how to make Macrame.

Rikisha is driven and ready to take on her next goal, “I love animals too I’m interested in one day working with wildlife.”

From a past with many challenges to an extraordinary future ahead of her, we can’t wait to follow her journey and see everything she accomplishes.

Something that Rikisha wants everyone to know:

“When you look at a tree, you can only see the tree, you can’t see the roots underneath. Don’t judge a book by its cover, no matter where you are, what you are doing, or how you are feeling in life there will always be obstacles but like the roots of a tree, there’s always a way to push through.”