Building work opportunities for migrant women

Building work opportunities for migrant women

CCI Giving assists numerous organisations who help people to develop skills to improve work possibilities. Wellsprings Women's Cooking Program is one remarkable avenue for migrant and refugee women to work as a member of a team and gain skills through cooking and catering services.

CCI Giving Chair Jeremy Yipp explains the Small Grants program is reaching the heart of migrant and refugee families by recognising the unique needs of women in these multicultural communities.

“Wellsprings Women's Cooking Program is a training pathway that helps women to engage as a team while they work on practicing a number of dishes for catering purposes,” says Jeremy. “Here we have women developing language and communication skills necessary to working, as well as learning commercial aspects of negotiating, problem-solving, managing budgets and schedules.”

Wellsprings for Women CEO Dalal Smiley says women have worked in catering roles for a number of annual events through the program.

“It’s had an incredibly positive impact where we have cooked monthly for families experiencing food insecurities and financial hardship”.

The pandemic impact saw the initiative move to a virtual space and while COVID restrictions have been uncomfortable, the opportunities for a far-reaching influence is undeniable. A Cultural Cuisines website is a boost to the catering service.

Online workshops teach Moroccan dishes, and during times of physical distance measures women stayed active and cooked on Zoom, posting some content to YouTube and Facebook.

The program is the recipient of awards from the Multicultural Commission and once shortlisted for the ACFE Learn Local Awards won the People’s Choice Award.

Dalal Smiley says that CCI’s Small Giving Grant helped Wellsprings for Women advance its work with a group of migrant and refugee women seeking a way to improve their financial circumstances.

“The women face barriers in accessing employment opportunities through mainstream channels, however they were excellent cooks in various cuisines. So, as a result of the funding Cultural Cuisines was born and now it’s a burgeoning social enterprise of women catering for various functions. They are busy this week preparing for five events for International Women’s Day.”

Jeremy Yipp is certain that supporting women will have a positive impact on families and communities.

“Some women will find employment and improve their family’s economic situation. For others in difficult or abusive relationships they have a way of being less financially independent on a partner. Others will get involved in social enterprises or start a catering business of their own. Everybody in the community benefits from this program in some way.”


You can learn more about the program via the links below:

Wellsprings Cooking the Art of Belonging - Multicultural Awards for Excellence

Wellsprings for Women - Traditional Lebanese Semolina Cake