Our Story


Tranby Aboriginal Co-operative Ltd. is Australia’s first and longest running Aboriginal-controlled education organisation. Fondly known by the Community as Tranby, we have provided vocational education and training to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples for 65+ years.

Our Indigenous campus is based on Gadigal land, although our students come from around Australia with classes connecting mob of diverse backgrounds and ages, between 18 and 65 years.

Tranby’s difference is that we teach through cultural ways of learning, knowing and being. Our accredited and non-accredited courses are written by and for Aboriginal peoples to ensure that the content is meaningful to the students who study them. Tranby’s learning programs are self-determination in action.

Learn more about Tranby: www.tranby.edu.au

The Program Journey

In March 2020 Tranby held a one-day program with funding from NSW Women called ‘Talkin’up Aboriginal Women’s Leadership’. This day connected Aunties, Elders, Tranby Alumna and local Aboriginal women to share stories, ideas and yarn strong together.

Sitting in circle and yarning about what empowers us as Aboriginal women highlighted a desire for more sacred women’s spaces to make our girls and women strong, inspire connection, leadership, and healing. Soon after our Tranby Community Projects team applied for a grant to make this dream a reality.

In late 2020 we received a prestigious grant from the U.S. Department of State’s Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund (AEIF) to create the inaugural national Indigenous women’s leadership program. Upon receiving the funding, we reached out to deadly women in our network to transform the idea into a six and ten-week cultural leadership program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, throughout Australia.

Supported by our Darug Community and Elders, we were gifted the name of the program and the Yanalangami journey took shape. Yanalangami is a Darug Nations word meaning to ‘walk together, me and you.’ The program aspires to provide Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander girls and women, aged 17+ with the knowledge, tools, resources, connections and safe space to learn leadership for themselves, their families and communities. Creating the program was a joint effort supported by Tranby Team members (CEO Dr Belinda Russon, Lead Yanalangami Facilitator Bernice Hookey, Community Projects Manager Jacinta Bailey and Partnerships consultant Dr Lisa Sarzin), international leadership expert, Ms Sadhana Hall and Elders from our inaugural Aboriginal Advisory Committee (AAC).

Together this inspiring team led a co-design of the leadership materials and program. Our Yanalangami Program empowers women through culturally meaningful and community relevant tools that promotes the inherent leadership and resilience of First Nations women. In doing so, Yanalangami helps shift the enduring negative mainstream discourses towards Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women by amplifying the incredible voices and Changemaker stories of First Nations women throughout Australia.

Connecting Strong Women

In 2021 the inaugural program connected 16 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, investing in their skills and empowering them as Changemakers locally and nationally. Due to the unforeseen circumstances of covid-19, the inaugural program ran online providing a valuable space of cultural connection to the women during an unprecedented time of community disconnection. We are proud that 15 Changemakers successfully completed the program, becoming our first cohort of Yanalangami graduates.

In its first year, Yanalangami was recognised by the Australian Human Rights Commission for its vital work in enhancing First Nations women’s leadership on the ground. This was an incredible milestone for the program which was made more special by a valuable connection for our team with the Social Justice Commissioner Aunty Dr. June Oscar AO, a proud Bunuba woman and leading gender justice advocate. Our team was proud to facilitate a Yarning Circle Session with our 2021 Yanalangami Changemakers and Aunty Dr. June Oscar. It was a memorable and inspiring evening for all involved.

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