Empowering our next generation to value and champion their safety and well being through self-worth and self-defence is the mission of the KYUP Project who are running free workshops in the Northern Rivers today and tomorrow.
Founder and Managing Director of the KYUP! Project, Mel Thomas has twice been the Australian Hapkido Woman of the Year. When Mel isn’t in the dojang, she’s touring schools, women’s shelters, universities and businesses doing her best to empower leaders, young Australian’s and women and children in crisis to boost their confidence, raise their standards and break the silence on domestic violence.
‘We believe every girl has a fighting spirit, and that she doesn’t need to be a ninja to raise her voice and raise her standards. Pronounced KEY-UP! and named after a warrior power shout – KYUP! is courage from her core.’
The KYUP! Project’s goal is to end the cycle of violence at a grassroots level. ‘Our workshops have been delivered to more than 10,000 young people in schools across Australia and NZ,’ says Mel. ‘From young girls in the most remote Indigenous communities to inner-city teenagers in metro areas, the KYUP! Project violence prevention education programs inspire young people to value and champion their safety and wellbeing and to break through limiting self-doubt.
Working on both sides of the issue
Thomas says she also work with boys. ‘These days we are not just working with girls, I am also talking to boys about the big issues that impact our girls – violence, porn, equality, and consent. Intimate partner violence has been at epidemic proportions in Australia for too long. The problem is vast, it’s not going away but that’s ok because neither is the KYUP! team.’
KYUP! vision is for every Aussie kid to have access to personal safety awareness and self-defense without prejudice. ‘In its latest report The Australian Institute of Crime reported alarming trends in youth violence and assaults,’ says Thomas. ‘Persons aged 15–19 years had the highest rate of offending of any age group in 2010. Juveniles offended at rates that exceeded that of adults, a trend consistent with the past 13 years.
‘Violence, bullying, domestic abuse and alcohol and drug-related assault are a regular part of life for far too many kids.
‘What’s missing in Australia is a universal approach to personal safety and access to self-defence. Some schools have programs and some schools don’t. Some schools have great programs while others are lacklustre. Wouldn’t it be great if everyone had access to the same empowering message and effective techniques?’
Today and tomorrow the KYUP! Project will run free three-hour workshops in Lismore, Casino, Ballina and Byron Bay.
For more information visit. Spaces are limited and must be pre-booked. Email: [email protected]