I really, really love my job.
I teach and design and source resources for the African Women's Sewing Enterprise through Green Collect. Green Collect is a social enterprise based in Melbourne, with a commitment to being innovators in resource recovery and waste minimisation.
The African Women's Sewing Enterprise has 9 participants this year, 3 beginners and 6 intermediate. I love the women I work with - from Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan and Djibouti - they are fun, friendly, creative, and committed to learning how to sew. I am so excited to look back over the past 18 months and to celebrate how much they have grown in their sewing skills, in speaking English, and in confidence.
I love teaching and sharing my skills with people who really want to learn. I love their respect for me as their teacher and their enthusiasm to learn and to improve. We talk a lot about the difference in taste of colours and patterns for Africans, compared to other Aussies. We share stories and ask questions, we talk about life and histories, faith and religion, ideas and hopes. The women bring their traditional food to share, and they love drinking my coffee. Sometimes they even bring their kids along, which is fun and I love their kids having an insight into a special part of their mum's lives.
There are many, many women who want to join our program! The participants have spoken highly to all their friends about the sewing group. I have loved getting involved in the African community in my local area. I love running into my women in Footscray, or Braybrook. I am so thankful to Green Collect for their commitment to employment, training and enterprise development. The highlight of our outcomes of the sewing project has been the sale of the stock we produce in the Green Collective stores in both Yarraville and Brunswick. We have developed our skills in sewing and mastered more than ten designs, and together have produced and sold more than 600 items in the past year.
So, as I love where I am now, I can't help but also look back to see how I got to this place. It has been a rich journey of developing and investing in my own skills. I am thankful that my mum shared with me her skills and knowledge of sewing, but also invested in seeing my creative expression, skills and capabilities flourish. I love teaching because it is my opportunity to share my passion and equip others to make, create and produce.