Empowering Voices: Mia’s Inspiring Trip as an Ambassador for Girls From Oz

Year 12 student Mia Barkla, a member of the Australian Girls’ Choir, has just returned from an amazing experience in northern Western Australia as an ambassador for the Girls from Oz program. We reached out to Mia and asked her to share her life-changing experience.

Australian Girls’ Choir

I have been a member of the Australian Girls’ Choir for ten years, and currently, I am in my fourth year in the performing choir. Being a member involves attending weekly rehearsals every Thursday from 6.30 pm to 9.00 pm. Additionally, I am part of Bel Canto, a specialist singing group that has rehearsals from 5.45 pm to 6.30 pm. Occasionally, we have all-day Sunday rehearsals to practice a wide repertoire. We also participate in a 5-day music school where we learn most of our songs for the year and the accompanying choreography. This year, the music school was held at Philip Island in Melbourne, with workshops running from 7.00 am until 8.00 pm.

Girls’ From Oz Ambassador

To become a Girls From Oz ambassador, I was required to create a short speech. Then a voting system was used to select two ambassadors. I was chosen by my peers because of their belief in me and my strong passion for Girls From Oz. They also saw my potential to contribute ideas and expand the program.

As an ambassador for the Girls From Oz program, I promote and raise awareness about the program. I encourage both choir members and others to donate and fundraise for the program. My role requires me to be passionate, enthusiastic, and organised, setting an example for others.

Trip to Carnarvon

During my visit to Carnarvon, I joined twelve members from different parts of Australia in a week-long journey. We stayed at the Carnarvon Community College’s performing arts centre. Our days typically included sessions with local children from different year levels. The days ended with sessions for seniors and afternoon activities. Each session involved physical and vocal warm-ups, singing or dancing for upcoming performances, and games or farewell songs.


We had the opportunity for sightseeing throughout the week. For instance, we visited the blowholes in Quobba and enjoyed the beach, although we didn’t witness the blowholes in action due to the lack of swell. We also went to Bumbak’s, a place known for its jams, chutneys, bananas, and ice cream. We learned about banana growth and visited the broken one-mile jetty, where a statue called “Don’t Look at the Islands” had a poignant story about a family’s struggle after the husband was taken away.

We explored Yingarrda land with Aunty Rennee, who taught us about herbal remedies such as the wart bush, a soap bush and a tree that produces sugary droplets used for energy. She also shared the history of the Yingarrda people. We engaged in spiritual experiences, including throwing sand and introducing ourselves to the spirits. We also enjoyed activities like jetty jumping and visited Wooramel Station, where we soaked in natural artesian baths and learned more about the local culture before sleeping out in tents.

An Eye-Opening Experience

During my time in Carnarvon, I learned about the girls I met and their challenging circumstances, such as broken families and difficult living conditions. It was a truly eye-opening experience that made me realise my own privilege. We concluded the week with performances at the Gwoonwardu Mia Cultural Centre, the reconciliation assembly at Carnarvon Community College, and the Growers Market. This experience was life-changing and has greatly influenced my perspective on life.


The biggest highlight of the experience for me was forming relationships with the other girls in the choir, both from Carnarvon and other states. I have made lifelong friendships and have been deeply impacted by their stories and experiences. This trip also reinforced my passion for working with children and helping those in need. Another memorable aspect was learning about the Yingarrda people’s history and hearing inspiring stories from Aunty Rennee, who has overcome significant challenges in her life, after being homeless five years ago and now owning her own business.

If you’d like to help…

If you would like to support the girls from Carnarvon and other communities to travel to Perth and Brisbane later this year, you can make a donation at the following link: https://www.givenow.com.au/girlsfromoz Please specify “Mia Barkla’s Giving Circle” when donating.

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