SisterWorks - Work empowers women

Where to find SisterWorks products this week:

Mornington Market - Wednesday 22nd, 9am-3pm, Main St Mornington (every Wednesday)
Womens Health In The Inner North's AGM - Thursday 23rd, 1pm-4pm, Coburg Concert Hall, 90 Bell St Coburg.
St Kilda Esplanade Market - Sunday 26th, 10am-5pm, St Kilda Esplanade (every Sunday)

imajine - 422 Brunswick St, Fitzroy
Saltwater Trading - 153-155 Ocean Beach Rd, Sorrento

SisterWorks Inc. is a one year old social enterprise based in Greater Melbourne. SisterWorks enables the most vulnerable asylum seeker, refugee and migrant women (henceforth referred to as “Sisters”) to work towards financial independence by developing the skills they need to settle happily into Australian society. We:

  • Provide training, coaching and support programs to develop business and language skills
  • Identify and coordinate retail opportunities 
  • Assist with resources and marketing

The Association evolved from a group founded by Luz Restrepo, a political refugee from Colombia. Luz arrived in Australia in 2010 with her life in tatters and spoke no English.  She felt like a nobody: frightened, isolated and disempowered. She soon discovered that she was not alone. Along with a group of women in similar conditions, they began to make and sell crafts around Melbourne.  Understanding that to support each other, each is strengthened.

SisterWorks Inc. was born in May 2013 when a committee of volunteers joined Luz with legal, fund-raising, marketing and administrative skills to give support and structure to the project.

SisterWorks is based in Melbourne. Our target group is women asylum seekers, refugees and migrants of non-English speaking backgrounds (henceforth referred to as “Sisters”).This project challenges the traditional view that settling in a new country must always be a struggle. The current group comprises of over 45 Sisters from numerous countries around the world. Our work is focused on empowering them to gain confidence and work experience in Australia.

If you would like to make a donation to SisterWorks, please see our Donations page.

We have regular weekly markets and two Design Labs where we train, coach and support our Sisters so they can develop knowledge of contemporary designs to improve the quality and appeal of their products, as well as business and English skills. Through these activities we are already achieving:

  • Opportunity to earn an income
  • Learning about how to run a business          
  • Interacting with the wider Australian public in English
  • Learning marketing and sales skills
  • Expanding social networks
  • Gaining self-confidence
  • Learning by doing 

SisterWorks is run by a committed group of 22 volunteers, including the Committee members and Executive officer who are working full time. Four of the 45 Sisters are currently working full time also. They are starting their transition from welfare to economic independence. We believe: "Work empowers women."
Dear friends,
We are currently looking for new volunteers to join our Please see current positions on our Volunteering page.