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NSW Governor visits Aboriginal company giving First Nations women "Real Futures"

Brendan Foster -

Proud Worimi Tongan woman and Real Futures project manager and team leader, Oneeva Tuuhetoka, said much of what the Aboriginal-owned company does is out of sight.

So Mrs Tuuhetoka was pleasantly surprised when NSW Governor Margaret Beazley popped into Real Futures Women's Business 2nd Chance Hub (WB2C) in Rooty Hill to hear firsthand from Indigenous women whose lives have been changed.

WB2C offers up programs for women at the risk of being left behind and aims to give them the chance to achieve quality learning, entrepreneurship and employment outcomes tailored to their needs as learners and future earners.

Governor Beazley said she got a clear window into the huge impact the programs were having in the community.

"It was wonderful to meet Oneeva and her team, and speak to so many impressive, strong, resilient First Nations women", she said.

"The work being done here is truly transformational.

"Being able to hear these stories firsthand, and to see the way lives are being changed and these women being propelled into meaningful, fulfilling careers was such a privilege."

Mrs Tuuhetoka said while Governor Beazley's visit was a huge honour, it was also an important way for the broader community to understand how life-changing the work being done was.

"So much of what we do is out of sight." Mrs Tuuhetoka said.

"We are so focused on working with the women in our community, helping them grow and build better lives, that we don't often get the chance to speak about what we do and the impact it's having.

"Having the Governor here and spending the afternoon with us was so empowering."

Since 2011, Real Futures has been aiming to create real change and growth for First Nations people, through job-readiness training, services and employment.

Mrs Tuuhetoka said employers want to make changes but do not always know how.

She said Real Futures was helping close that gap.

"What's even more rewarding about what we do, most of our leadership team started out in the program," she said.

"They know first-hand the impact our work has in the community, so now we are giving back."

Mrs Tuuhetoka said Real Futures – which has offices in Western Australia and NSW – was making its mark internationally, with the company chief executive, Christianna Cartwright invited again to speak at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in New York next month.

"More than 900 women have signed up for our Women's Business 2nd Chance program," Mrs Tuuhetoka said.

"What they offer is beyond a CV, they have personality and potential.

"These programs offer more than just a job; they restore confidence and give hope to those who walk through our doors broken."

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