Name: Janis Koolmatrie
Occupation: Mother, qualified school teacher
Place of Residence: Raukkan Community, SA
Tribe/Language: Ngarrindjeri people
Janis Koolmatrie, 41, is a single mother of 4 girls, qualified teacher and budding photographer. Her daughters are Katie, 14, Ashlyn, 12, Payton, 10, and Aliya, 3.
Janis has lived at her birthplace, Raukkan, all her life. Regarded as the home and heartland of the Ngarrindjeri people, Raukkan is a small Indigenous community situated on the shore of Lake Alexandrina in South Australia.
“The Lord is my world. I wouldn’t be where I am if it wasn’t for Him, for His love, for His grace. He’s my everything. He’s my comforter, my protector. I love that it doesn’t matter what type of day I’m having, He’s there for me, no matter what,” said Janis.
“The Lord speaks to me through my children. For example, my daughter Payton will put her hand on my shoulder and tell me about a story in the Bible. Katie, she sings, and she has a beautiful voice. I tell her that all the time, but I also tell her it’s a gift from the Lord. My daughter Ashlyn loves art. The Lord speaks to her all the time in her dreams and she’s able to make connections to the Bible. Aliya is a dancer and she dances like she’s worshiping the Lord.
“In regards to my children and the Lord, they know He exists. He lives in their hearts like He does in mine. Let your light shine. That’s what I think about when I think about my daughters.
“I was the type of person who blamed everything on everybody else instead of being accountable for my part and my actions. The Lord showed me that He still loved me regardless. From that moment on it has been about the Lord, my walk with Him and my children.
“God has given me the tools to go out into the world and do something, to be something. He has given me my Indigenous culture, he has given me my family. I know who I am, and that’s a very powerful thing.”
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