I am Betty and I am from Liberia, West Africa. Now I am part African and part Australian. I have three children. My oldest daughter is now in university. I have been a business person for years. After war broke out in Liberia, a bunch of us would sell wood in the markets in the Ivory Coast. Eventually I started buying and selling dried goods, fish, and rice. That is how I used to live in Africa.
After I came to Australia, I wanted to start my own business here. It’s not so easy; you have to take a course. The people in Immigration told me to take a course with Stepping Stones.
I did the course and then I gradually started my business, I now know how to buy goods from Africa and bring them to Australia. I have my business at home.
At one point, Stepping Stones recommended that I sell my products at a market. I went there, and saw the people at SisterWorks. After we chatted, I decided to join them. SisterWorks has really helped me. I don’t have money to pay for the people who teach me. These volunteers teach me things I’d like to sell.
Before SisterWorks I didn’t know how to make necklaces, or earrings. Yeah! So I am learning a lot of skills. I am learning how to drive now, too.
Maybe tomorrow I will be a successful business person. I hope that I will have my own shop, and that people in Australia will work for me. And then I will help other poor people perhaps newcomers to Australia, or people back home.
When I first started making jewellery, I didn’t know which materials to buy. I used to make some jewellery with elastic, which would stretch and break. So I used to sell them for cheaper.
But now, SisterWorks had people come in and show me the right material to use. I now use Tiger Tail wire for all of the jewellery because it is very strong. I have developed new products using Tiger Tail and fine beads, as well as wooden beads. I am also still volunteering at the SisterWorks shop two days a month.