Women’s Self Growth Program


In May 2022, South East Community Links (SECL) consulted with 40 members of the local Afghan community to identify practical skills that could serve as a pathway to employment. Through these discussions, sewing emerged as a shared interest among the group. Subsequently, efforts were made to harness this interest as a means to foster greater community inclusion and expand employment opportunities.


SECL has developed the Women’s SELF (Sewing, Entrepreneurial, Literacy and Financial) Growth program with five long term partnerships. These included SisterWorks and Social Studio who shared mission and vision for potential impact. By September 2022, three groups had been formed tailored to the capacity and needs of 52 women. Moreover, SECL secured funding from the City of Casey and Ashwood/Mt Waverley Lions Club, leading the program’s expansion based on the community’s growing interest in sewing.
The momentum increased between October 2022 to December 2023 when participants became immensed in production and presentation over 43 sessions. One participant was commissioned by Social Studio to produce an embroidery piece for the prestigious National Gallery of Victoria. In addition, others learned new skills like cutting, measuring, and sewing their own garments.
In October 2023, the program achieved a significant milestone, with seven Afghan women securing casual employment opportunities. These women were commissioned by Social Studio to embroider garments for Melbourne Fashion Week and Christmas sales.


Skill Development

Participants developed their sewing skills while exploring topics like parenting, gender equality, education, and employment, boosting their self-confidence and achieving personal growth.

Social Inclusion

100% of participants reported new friendships and one self help group was formed, enriching their personal lives and creating a sense of belonging and inclusion within their social circles.

Economic Empowerment

The success is underpinned by the employment of seven Afghan women in their first casual jobs, learning about employee rights and responsibilities and earning an income.

The Women’s Self Growth program is supported by the City of Casey, The Social Studio, SisterWorks, Lions International and is funded by the Australian Government.