Ana Maria Pena

Ana Maria knits beanies

I’m Ana, I’m from Chile. I’ve lived in Australia for five years. I have five children living in Chile, and one is here in Australia.

When I came to Australia in 2013, as a tourist, I met a man. He promised me a wonderful life for my children, so I married him, and had a child. However, my husband was a terrible man. One winter night he left my son, Joseph and me on the side of the road. I had nowhere to go.
This was a terrible time. But luckily, a friend, Ana, introduced me to Luz. When I met her, I had made a little bracelet.

Luz saw it and said, “Oh, I’ll take you to a market, and you can sell your bracelets there.” I made $1.00—just one dollar! But I was so happy because I had money in my pocket.

Luz told me I should try and make something else. Andrea, a SisterWorks volunteer, taught me to knit. She gave me ideas, told me about colour, about wool. I also have a mentor through SisterWorks—Lynn, who has given me great ideas about what to sell.

Now, I crochet beanies. I make them out of cotton and alpaca wool, for children and adults. I can make five beanies a day. I knit all day, and make these beanies with love!

Back in Chile, I sold vegetables to support my children, so I was an entrepreneur for many years. But selling in markets here was very hard for me because I didn’t speak English. I couldn’t communicate what I knew to my customers. Now, my English is better, I’m confident when people ask questions. My beanies are very popular!

My dream is for all my children to live with me in Australia. I have a good life here, but it is expensive to apply for my children’s visas, and to pay for their airfare.That’s a lot of beanies! So, to make more money, I want to import products from South America –I cannot knit forever!

SisterWorks has helped me for the rest of my life. Luz helped me become strong and independent. This is best for me.