Meet Anyier Yuol, part of our Celebrating Neighbourhood Good project
Here at Westpoint we’re Celebrating Neighbourhood Good. We’re proud of our community, and the people working in it to help others. That’s why we’re sharing their stories with you.
Published 18 January

Here at Westpoint we’re celebrating Neighbourhood Good. We’re proud of our community, and the people working in it to help others. In our neighbourhood, people are creating positive change every day, making lives better, taking care of those in need and creating a place where we all feel safe and welcome. That’s why we’re sharing their stories with you – to show you that there is so much good in our community, and to say how proud we are to be a part of it. Because ours is a place for everyone, where our community comes together.

Meet Anyier Yuol, a member of Blacktown City Council’s Women’s Advisory Committee.

She has been a proud Blacktown resident since arriving in the country 18 years ago. “I grew up in Blacktown,” she says. “I came from Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya, and Blacktown was the first place I called home. I went to primary school and high school here, and I started getting involved in community initiatives through football. When I got to university, I maintained that community volunteering and began working with the migrant communities.”

Today Anyier juggles many roles, working for a migrant resource centre in Parramatta and studying for her PHD – while continuing community initiatives through Blacktown City Council.

“I'm passionate about supporting women in Blacktown,” she says. “I try to find initiatives to bring more awareness into our LGA, and just bring the voices of women out.”

“This year I've looked around at what was happening in the area,” says Anyier. “And there was so much emphasis put on older women, addressing the issues of domestic violence, and the youth, who have their own things going on. I saw that there was a huge gap with the 18 to 25-year-olds – their needs were not being addressed.”

For Anyier it was crucial to find a way to help these young women – which is how the upcoming Blacktown Young Women’s Forum has come about.

“We’ll hold it as a forum/network event where we can invite businesses too,” Anyier says, of the event to be held in February 2021. “They can come in and network, but at the same time we are also able to find what are some of the issues they're facing. What are their inspiring stories? And what do they want to do?”

Of course, while some of the challenges faced in Blacktown are the same worldwide –finishing school or university in the middle of a pandemic giving many young people increased stress, family issues and more – locally, there are added challenges too.

“We have those issues, plus a lack of employment, and domestic violence issues too,” agrees Anyier. “And speaking from that young women’s perspective – women starting out their career – I think they haven't been provided opportunities to think beyond their limitations. When I speak to these young women, I think there is a lack of mentorship to know where they're going, which career pathway to take. We want them to be connected to university, to academia, to businesses and all of those kinds of things.”

“Everything and anything is possible when you are given the resources, when you are provided the opportunity,” she says. “And what we are trying to do now, with our work, is to say, we are your resources.

“We want to give a little bit of boost of confidence to say, we're here, we're hear you and we want to bring that leadership out in you.”

For Anyier, this also involves breaking down stereotypes when it comes to how Blacktown, and Western Sydney in general, are often perceived.

“It’s important for women like myself and other young women who are out there to speak up and say, look at what we're doing. We're thriving, and we're pushing.

“I think it is our responsibility to come back and help the Blacktown community. And to make sure that they know that there's a helping hand out there that can unite all of us.”

Being part of that helping hand is a chance for her to give back to the community she loves.

“It's about making sure that our community has the best opportunities that they can get. It means that we are working in unity and that we are looking out for each other.”