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Migrant women work together to create a productive space (Leader)

5 August 20150 comments

AN IMPRESSIVE CV including three degrees and a successful career as a communications expert and business administrator meant little when Luz Restrepo arrived in Australia from Colombia.

The political refugee spoke only Spanish and finding work in the fields she was trained in was almost impossible.

The Dromana mum of two said she “felt invisible” and was “full of fear”.

“I met other women in the same situation while learning English and decided that I needed to do something to help all of us,” Ms Restrepo said.

In 2011 she set up Handmade by Multicultural Women, now known as SisterWorks. The enterprise helps migrants set up their own business, often involving original crafts which are sold at Mornington, St Kilda Esplanade and Abbotsford markets.

“It’s important to push the women and given them educational and networking opportunities, not just English classes,” Ms Restrepo said.

SisterWorks was recently awarded a $50,000 Community Grant for the National Australia Bank Business Lab program, to access business education.

Janett Egber, NAB Manager Strategic Partnerships for Small Business, said the group would be able to access a co-working space.

For details visit: sister works.org.au

Story by Leader – Newspaper Direct