NAIDOC WEEK - Because of Her We Can

In Celebration of Naidoc Week 2018, Under the theme - Because of Her, We Can! – We are profiling our first Indigenous Pool Lifeguard Instructor to deliver Aquatic Safety education in language on the APY Lands, Peshwah Feilding.

As pillars of our society, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women have played – and continue to play - active and significant roles at the community, local, state and national levels. Peshwah is a trailblazer within surf lifesaving and she has helped shape the direction of Surf Life Saving SA’s Inclusion Strategies and community engagement work.

Peshwah came to surf lifesaving through Henley Surf Life Saving Club as part of her SACE certificate as a student at The Wiltja Anangu Secondary College.

Wiltja has collaborated with Henley Surf Lifesaving Club for over five years on a surf lifesaving program, helping students successfully complete their bronze medallion course. Students training at Henley are immersed in an unfamiliar environment and go on to become proficient in water safety, First Aid and CPR. Two students who graduated in 2014 went on to become pool lifeguards in Alice Springs.

Peshwah has since gone on to teach the Pool Life Guard Course to Community Pool Lifeguards and Surf Ed in five Community Schools.

She said the reception she has experienced on the job was extremely positive “It was amazing! All the community members were asking what I was doing and that made me feel really good about myself, to be helping other young Indigenous people to get qualified and work at the pool” said Ms Feilding.

Peshwah’s message for other Indigenous women is “Don’t be afraid to try new things”.

 “I feel proud. I would like more Indigenous people to get their surf lifesaving,” she said.

Surf Life Saving SA are using the success of Peshwah’s work to inform community engagement strategies across the organisation.  

“The impact of delivering education programs with local presenters in Pitjantjatjara language has been extremely powerful” says Surf Life Saving SA Community Manager Sita Bacher.  

“Peshwah is opening doors for Indigenous women that come after her and having her in our team has taught us how critical it is that we, as public safety educators, make sure we have messengers who are part of the communities and cultures we are trying to reach” said Ms Bacher.

NAIDOC Week 2018 will be held nationally from Sunday 8 July and continue through to Sunday 15 July.