Victoria Minani, Tanzania
“I come to Sisterworks to drop off the things I make, but also I come to just chat. This to me is important.”
Hi my name is Victoria and I am from a refugee camp in Southern Tanzania. When we flew to Australia in 2007, this was the first time any of us had been on an airplane. It wasn’t easy because we didn’t speak English, but it was fun, so much fun. We were given our own seat and it felt like we were going somewhere exciting. My husband’s family lived in Melbourne, so this is where we came.
I never thought I’d make jewellery. I have five children so making jewellery is something I could do at home and also be a mother. First, I tried to learn how to do beading from an audio class on a CD. This was hard because I was doing it alone at home and I had no help. I didn’t know what to do next. My mother-in-law helped me find an eight week class at a community school. Here I learnt how to cut and make metal jewellery.
In 2016, I learnt English through the Fitzroy Learning Network. One day I was joking with my teacher that she knew everything and that she should teach us how to make jewellery. So she did. I learnt how to use aluminium, silver and wax for my jewellery. We had an exhibition and I gave cards to all the people I knew, telling them to come. We had champagne; people were dancing and buying my stuff. For the first time I was excited. My jewellery was so popular, everyone knew it was me. It was all Victoria, Victoria, Victoria!
I came to SisterWorks in 2017. Here I learn new skills and get new ideas too. The volunteers help me design earrings for people who live here and show me where to buy materials. It’s good because everytime you start something new, you lose money. At SisterWorks they help you make something that people will buy. Over Christmas a lot of people bought my earrings as presents. One time my husband even saw a woman on the train wearing my earrings and he called me straight away. It was a very funny thing.
Now I come to SisterWorks to drop off the things I make, and then I just come to chat. This to me is important because at home I am bored, there is no one to talk to. I love to talk and when I am talking here, my day finishes quickly. I have made lots of friends at SisterWorks because we sit here at the table and talk.
I will continue to make jewellery at SisterWorks, but I don’t know yet what is next. I have been working with resin to make earrings and bracelets but am excited to make new ideas with the volunteers.