Lausapai Nikora felt a strong connection to becoming a SOULsista when she was first told about SOUL by teachers at her school Mt Albert Grammar.
“SOUL really spoke to me and I felt that I needed to be part of it. I grew up and live in South Auckland and feel that there have always been stereotypes about that and also being an islander. People have heaps of stereotypes about who you are supposed to be.
“Before I went to my first SOULcircle I was a bit unsure about what to expect, but when I got there I was like ‘wow’, it was so much fun!”
The Year 12 student says before joining SOUL, she’d not been able to put herself out there in the community but when she attended her first SOULcircle she was blown away by what it offered her.
“SOUL gives me more confidence to be who I am and stand up to people who think the way they do. It boosts my confidence to know that there are a lot of people in the same situation as me that want to make good for themselves.
“Before joining SOUL I had heard about women who were trying to break stereotypes, but I never actually met them. At SOUL I see these women, I see them in action.”
Lausapai (17), who was born in New Zealand and is of Cook Islands’ decent, has big plans for when she leaves school.
“I’ve always wanted to give back to the community, that’s a huge thing for me. I want to study something like law and business that will enable me to go back to the Cook Islands and help out there and help the people develop so they don’t have to struggle as they have been. My dad’s a policeman he was working in the Cook Islands helping with preventing domestic violence – I want to do something along those lines.”
Lausapai’s interaction with other SOULsistas, SOUL volunteers and SOUL Central Auckland programme leader Kirstin Wong is giving her the tools she needs to take those steps towards that future.
“Prejudice is a big thing for women I feel like the more involved and aware we become, the stronger we are as women in ourselves and building the confidence of others. With SOUL, it’s great to know there are other supportive people out there that want to build your confidence too.”