Ana Maria arrived in Australia as a tourist in 2013. She traveled here from Chile, where she sold vegetables at the market to support her family. When she arrived in Australia she met a man, and he promised her and her children a wonderful life. Ana Maria married this man, and they had a son – Joseph. She planned to bring her five children over from Chile as soon as possible, but her Australian husband was not the man she thought he was. One winter night, he left her and Joseph on the side of the road. Ana had nowhere to go.
Luckily, a friend introduced Ana Maria to SisterWorks CEO Luz. Like many of our Entrepreneurs, Ana Maria found SisterWorks at an incredibly difficult time of her life – she was alone in a foreign country, she was a single mother, her English was rudimentary, and she had just been treated badly by someone she trusted.
When she met Luz, she was wearing a simple, hand-made bracelet. Luz saw it and suggested that Ana come to market and sell the bracelet. Ana remembers, “I made $1.00—just one dollar! But I was so happy because I had money in my pocket.”
This dollar sparked a journey of entrepreneurship. Andrea, a SisterWorks volunteer, taught her to knit. Through SisterWorks workshops she learned about colour, wool, and design. Ana Maria’s SisterWorks mentor, Lynn, helped her decide which products to sell and how to market them.
Now Ana sells her beanies at markets and is saving money to pay for her children to come to Australia.
Over the last six years, Ana has learned English and raised her son Joseph and fostered a strong and supportive community in a foreign country. Ana Maria’s dream is to bring all her children to Australia to share in the life that she has made for herself here, but visas and airfares are very expensive. Through hard work, Ana Maria has become independent and enjoys a full life with her children in Melbourne.
Visit our stores and shop Ana Maria’s products.