Women are the fabric of our community

This week's activities at the ASC had a focus on International Women's Day, highlighting the amazing women in our community March 08, 2024

As today is International Women’s Day, we’re celebrating the women in our community by highlighting one of the wonderful initiatives the Asylum Seekers Centre runs, aimed at helping women seeking asylum build connections, learn new skills, and develop confidence. 

This week, the ASC launched the Knit and Nourish initiative at our Auburn Community Centre on Wednesday afternoons. Through generous funding provided by the Cumberland LGA, the initiative is tailored for women and children residing in the local area.

The weekly Mums and Bubs group will provide a welcoming, safe space to practice English, learn new skills, share knowledge and develop self confidence, with activities for young children supported by Choice Preschool, and workshops for women, including sewing lessons. Women will also have the opportunity to meet and interact with others in a supportive community setting. 

A message board made by the women attending our Mums and Bubs day at our Auburn centre
Women from our first Knit and Nourish program meet-up create a message board

“It is very interactive and we are getting the knowledge of how to be independent and develop yourself,” said one of the women in the group after our first meet-up this week. “It is a very helpful group that helps you to feel free, we are creating friendships, we can be independent, we share knowledge and companionship in the group.” 

“It is nice to see women making different things, gathering and talking together. It is a caring and loving place. We don’t have anywhere in Australia like here. The help from the staff, we feel heard and supported,” said another.

These women’s circles also serve as avenues for developing friendships and actively participating in community life. Studies show that when starting again in a new country, women face more barriers than their male counterparts, and are particularly vulnerable to violence, poverty and social isolation, making initiatives such as Knit and Nourish even more important. 

Knit and Nourish will also supports a ‘monthly meal’. Every month, participants within the group collaborate to prepare a community meal, where they have the chance to showcase their food traditions and cultural heritage, enriching the collective experience and strengthening community bonds. 

Women at the Knit and Nourish initiative cooking a meal
Some of the women attending our Knit and Nourish program help prepare a meal

The Mums and Bubs initiatives were born out of a need identified by the very community we aim to serve. In early 2023, the ASC carried out a survey with more than 250 people seeking asylum to identify the most important needs in their community, particularly for women and children. The results of this survey showed that interest in sewing classes and cooking opportunities featured highly among our community. 

The success of our Knit and Nourish initiative, with the support and funding from Cumberland LGA, has been wonderful to see and we hope to see it continue to grow and flourish over the coming years. 

Celebrating women in the Asylum Seekers Centre community Statement from the Asylum Seekers Centre on the cancellation of Palestinian visas