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Mariseline, Burundi


Mariseline knits baby clothes

My name is Mariseline and I come from Burundi, in Africa. I arrived in Australia in May 2010. I came with my family, my husband and four children: 3 daughters and one son. Four of my children are now studying at university.

In Burundi, I was a teacher in primary school, and then I was headmaster. Because there is a problem in my country I left in 1999 and I went to Tanzania. I stayed there ten years.

I knit clothes for little children: socks and scarves. I learned to knit in Africa because in primary school we all learn to knit. Here, though, I’ve improved my skills because I learn more and more through SisterWorks. Different people help me.

I go to the markets and earn some money from my knitting. Here, when someone comes, they want to know how you make the clothes, so you have to talk—too much! You have to show your things and talk, because people are interested. That is not always easy for me. It can make me tired. But I did improve my English that way.

I met Luz in Springvale, because one day, a lady gave me some wool and then she invited me to see Luz . Luz was very helpful and friendly. She starts to talk and says, ‘You can do this . . . you can do all this with these women . . .’

I have to keep knitting to gain money; sometimes, I can help my community when people ask me to make something for their kids.

There are some problems, though. Sometimes I don’t understand the knitting patterns, and it is not easy to find good wool. Also, many parents buy their children’s clothing at supermarkets. I also have a problem to go to markets every time because of my health; sometimes, I’m sick. It would be good to sell my things online. I have never tried that before.

I have now been contracted to make products to order. So far I have knitted a beanie, and now I’m making two baby’s jumpers and a baby’s bolero to order. Both products have very specific measurements and details. I have even made a mock-up jumper to practice so that I can ensure I get the design right.

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