Maria Cecelia Mina
“It’s work, but it doesn’t feel like work. It is a very positive environment here because we talk and chat, you know, it’s very relaxing.”
Hi my name is Maria and I am from Paulo-Afonso in North East Brazil. I came to Melbourne three years ago with my husband because he got a job opportunity here. We had always wanted to live and experience a different culture. In Brazil I worked as a dentist so when we came to Melbourne I first wanted to go back to school and sit exams to validate my qualifications. But I found this to be super expensive and time consuming.
I came to Sisterworks in 2017 as a volunteer. At the time I was just at home and studying English. When I first came here I already knew a bit of English, but the day to day conversation was lacking because most of my friends here are Brazilian and we speak Portuguese together. When I came here only once a week I could see that my speaking was still too broken. Now I am more fluent.
When I was a volunteer, I helped women in the Design Labs who were just starting up. I knew some basic skills; a little bit of sewing, crocheting and knitting, but I actually improved my skills through the Design Labs. Then I became an Entrepreneur and started selling my own crocheted scarves and shawls.
Currently, I am sewing dolls with other Sisters at least two times a week. We are on a schedule to make 100 dolls for an International Women’s Day lunch. We plan to give away half of the dolls to people who donate money to Sisterworks to say thank you. Even if there is this schedule and everything, I still don’t think it’s stressful. It’s work, but it doesn’t feel like work. It is a very positive environment here because we talk and chat, you know, it’s very relaxing. I don’t miss dentistry, this environment is more for me.
Lately I have been working on different patterns for my scarves, but I would like to learn how to sew clothes too. I have enrolled in a sewing class at the Melbourne Fashion Institute and am already thinking of new products to make for Winter.