This program supports women seeking asylum to realise their full potential through a range of professional development workshops and activities, including English language classes, education and training and other community-based activities to foster creativity and social engagement.
Our entrepreneurial female members can access the Women in Business program where they receive support to start up their own businesses.
The program also runs a nine-week Sisterhood Journey, a self-growth program run in partnership with MIND Australia and another similar program called SHINE, in partnership with Hope Inc. These programs provide a space for women to build their confidence and self-esteem, enabling them to discover who they are and the person they want to become.
‘I was a nurse in Cameroon for 8 years. I had been feeling very helpless and isolated since coming to Australia. When I had my intake through the women’s program, I felt that a floodgate of opportunity had opened up for me. I wanted to access all programs instantly! Women’s program has given me basis of how to interact with other women of different cultural backgrounds. It has taught me how not to discriminate and be open to other cultures and ways of thinking. It has also helped me understand that I am unique and appreciate my worth.’ Member
Many women members are already accomplished professionals and an Australian qualification is an essential step to resuming their careers. In 2016, the program supported 135 women to enrol in professional courses and many women gained Australian workplace experience through volunteering opportunities.
The program’s impact is significant, with women members now comprising 40% of the Innovation Hub’s program participation rate. That equates to 229 women members joining the Hub since July 2015.
Like many ASRC’s programs, WISE Women is driven by members. In 2015-16, 35 women members started volunteering at the Hub, with 12 members creating a Women’s Advisory Committee. Meeting quarterly, the Committee reviews and plans for the program’s ongoing development. This complements development of a new Women in Business program, to be launched in the this year and tailored on practical skills, such as budgeting and computer literacy as well as building confidence and assertiveness.