Fit out SisterWorks’ New Home
About This Project
Who we are
SisterWorks supports women who are asylum seekers, refugees or migrants, to gain independence and become integrated into Australian society. We assist them to become business entrepreneurs, gain work experience, and develop their skills and confidence in a supportive environment. They are supported with opportunities to market their products and skills and develop their own business ventures.
SisterWorks commenced in May 2013 in Melbourne, Australia. We are a social enterprise working towards being sustainable but as a start-up we need the support of people to strengthen and grow. For this reason we have DGR status, allowing people to have tax deductions for their donations.
Our Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Luz Restrepo, is a political refugee from Colombia. Her early experiences in Australia have determined the mission and values of SisterWorks. We believe that work empowers women and together we are strong.
From 23 women in 2013, we now have 75 Sisters from 24 different countries being supported by and working with a team of 60 volunteers and 4 part time staff. 12% of our entrepreneurs have established their own businesses and 20% of our entrepreneurs are attending markets to sell their products every week.
Physical and emotional challenges for our women:
- Lack of independence which increases feelings of isolation and uselessness.
- Little or no social network or family connection.
- No access to use of a private vehicle and lack of confidence in using public transport.
- Little or no English language.
SisterWorks Impact in last 12 months:
- 20% of Sisters use SisterWorks to primarily engage in the community.
- SisterWorks provides an extended family, mentors and friends.
- 15% of Sisters are now driving, 8% learning to drive and 60% are able to independently use public transport.
- 100% of the Sisters have gained confidence in being immersed into an English speaking environment.
Financial challenges for our women:
- Long term unemployment.
- Ignorance about Australian business regulations and practices.
- Dependence on welfare.
SisterWorks impact in last 12 months:
- 41% of Sisters are earning an income of up to $17,000 per year.
- 12% of Sisters are managing their businesses independent of support.
- 11% of Sisters are working full time in their business.
- 12% of Sisters are pursuing other business opportunities without any assistance.
- 16% of Sisters have begun creating new business ventures.
SisterWorks offers four levels of assistance:
Sessions where our entrepreneurs and volunteers work together to develop marketable products that our entrepreneurs can sell.
In these sessions our entrepreneurs, business mentors and industry experts can come together with the aim of creating sustainable micro-enterprises.
Volunteers provide one-on-one social, design and business support.
This provides an opportunity where the entrepreneurs learn by doing business and have the opportunity to earn an income:
- 91 Regular Markets
- 39 Pop-Up Markets
- New work opportunities: Home Parties and School workshops
- Sales online through our website and Etsy website
Where do we work?
SisterWorks is based in Melbourne and to date has operated at a number of temporary sites around the city. This way of working has limited our capacity to offer services on a full time basis and has created communication, logistical and operational difficulties. We need a permanent home, where all of our people can come to work together and where we can sell the products made by our entrepreneurs in a retail shop. Premises have been found in Richmond.
Why it matters?
We now have located a permanent home for SisterWorks in Richmond that requires a complete fit out. We need funds to purchase furniture and equipment.
What you can do to help?
Our new home will provide:
- a retail shop space.
- an area where the entrepreneurs will learn new talents and create their craft.
- a space where the entrepreneurs will acquire business skills.
- an area for small children to play and a small kitchen for socialising and refreshments.
By donating you can help us purchase the many items we need to furnish our new home which will provide a safe and inspiring place for our women to come together to share, learn and become empowered.
Use Of Funds
When we reach $8000 we will be able to purchase the items we need to fit out our retail shop space and design labs. Many of the items we need to buy are listed below. We are resourceful and do not expect to have to buy everything new. The retail prices quoted are just a guide:
$5 buys a stackable stool (we need 10)
$45 will buy a stackable padded chair (we need 12)
$45 will buy a bi-fold folding table (we need 10)
$149 will buy us a sewing table (we need 3)
$400 will buy a large bookcase for craft books, business books and magazines (we need 2)
$470 will buy a cutting table for cutting fabric for sewing
$500 will buy a cash register
$1500 will buy an eftpos machine and receipt printer for our shop
$1500 will help build shelving to store our donated craft supplies
$2000 will purchase a computer and scanner for inventory control
$2500 will purchase a glass counter and display units for our shop
$32,000 would assist SisterWorks to purchase new computers, printers and equipment for our business labs, set up our crèche area, establish visible signage on the property and enable SisterWorks and the entrepreneurs to create marketing material. Again, retail prices are just a guide.
$60 will buy 2 bean bags for the kids area
$120 will buy a small rectangular work/computer desk (we need 8)
$199 will buy an ergonomic chair (we need 10)
$299 will buy rectangular work desks for our office area (we need 5)
$350 will buy a storage cabinet for toys
$500 will buy lockable cabinets (we need 2)
$1000 will buy signage for our retail window
$1400 will buy an apple laptop and software (we need 8)
$1600 will acquire street signage for our new building
$4100 will buy a colour laser printer