All Waltja Directors must be Aboriginal women, and appointed from remote communities where Waltja works. They must be a permanent resident (living in the community for at least 5 years), have made a big contribution to the community and be recognised for their leadership, either paid or voluntary in the community.
At the Annual General Meeting, Waltja members elect Directors. Directors then vote on the office bearer positions. The office bearers are Chairperson, Public officer and three Executive members. These, with the CEO, make up Waltja’s Executive management team.
April Martin, Chairperson
I was born at Aninngie Station, near Willowra. I now live at Willowra community. My mother in from Aninngie and speaks Anmatjere. My father is from Willowra and speaks Warlpiri. I started boarding school at Yirara in the mid 1970s. I went back to Willowra and worked as a teacher, then I married and we moved to Ti Tree where I was a Health Worker for many years. From 1995 to 1998 I was the Willowra Community President.
I have been with Waltja right from the beginning. I joined Waltja because I wanted to help all the women in and around our community. I am the Chairperson and work alongside the other four Executive members. We meet six times a year. We discuss community issues and how to get support from Waltja and other services, and government too. We support Sharijn and the staff at Waltja to do good work. Waltja provides services to communities that need help.
Irene Nangala, Executive Director
I was born at Haasts Bluff, Ikuntji, and grew up at Papunya. In 1980 I heard that people were moving to Kintore. My grandfather and grandmother walked in from that country to Haasts Bluff a long time ago so we wanted to go back there. We built a new school, and I taught there. I was the first women Chairperson on the Walungurru Community Council at Kintore and was an ATSIC Regional Councilor for a long time.
I was at the start up of Waltja. I got strong from listening to other people and it made me really proud, from listening and from talking up for other people, not only for my family or Kintore but for Aboriginal people everywhere. I have been a Director at Waltja for more than 10 years. I was sick and now I am a renal patient. I am lucky though that my community, Kintore, has a renal unit so I can be home most of the time. When we are on country we feel stronger. We want to have lots of women come and listen and understand what Waltja is doing and what programs we run. You can talk to us the members and the workers and we will tell you all about it. We want our culture to stay strong. This is important for our futures.
Sandra Windy, Public Officer
This is my first year an as Executive Director but I have been a member of Waltja for a long time. I come from Areyonga. We like going to meetings for Waltja. People come from all the different communities; all age groups, to work together. We learn a lot when we are together and the old ladies teach us when we go bush. I feel proud to support all the ladies and to help Sharijn and the staff. All the ladies at Areyonga like to take part in Waltja events and activities too.
Wendy Brown, Executive Director
I have lived all my life in Yuendumu. I have got grown up children and their families are living here too. Yuendumu is a good place for me to live. At first we ran a playgroup at the Women’s Centre. Finally we got the Yuendumu Childcare Centre. We call it Kurrdu Kurrdu Kurlangu – this means the young kids and older kids all together. I am proud of all the childcare work and training I have done with Waltja.
I talk up especially for the old people in my community of Yuendumu. I am Chairperson of the Yuendumu Old Peoples Program, Manpu Maninja Kurlangu Jarlu Patu Kurlangu.
I have been a Waltja member for a long time. I have been a Director for Waltja and on Executive. I meet up with women from all over Central Australia for Waltja. I enjoy meeting Waltja staff when we come in for meetings. I like how we support each other doing good work. It’s good having meetings with other Executive members, being together and sharing different ideas. At Waltja meetings we have a lot of different languages from right across the Central Deserts.
Rachel Tillmouth, Executive Director
I grew up at Alcoota Station. All my family lived there. It was a happy life, everyone together. I went to school at Alcoota. It was hard because it was always in English and my language is Arrernte. I went to school till grade 8. Around this time Engawala Community got our own Council. Now we have a shop, council, clinic and school.
I have always been a Waltja member, and have been a Director too. When we are on our own community we are just thinking about our own place. When we get together with the other women we share our stories and ideas. We like to help the old people and the young ones too. We like to make things too. I have been with Waltja since it started and used to come mostly with Nancy and Mary Tilmouth. I have learned many new things. I work at the women’s centre at Engawala and I really like to help my people.