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Sewing classes creating employment opportunities

Sewing classes led by a volunteer at MercyCare Mirrabooka are proving to be a valuable resource creating employment opportunities for people in the local region.

Professional bridal wear dressmaker Fariba Wright has been volunteering for the past two years with MercyCare Mirrabooka, where she runs a weekly sewing class teaching local residents sewing skills, starting with the basics and moving through to professional alterations and dressmaking from scratch.

MercyCare is celebrating the incredible work of its hundreds of dedicated volunteers, including Fariba, this week as part of National Volunteer Week.

Fariba has been a professional dressmaker for more than 30 years, and previously owned her own dressmaking business in Brisbane. She first became familiar with MercyCare after taking a computer course run by the organisation at Mirrabooka to help overcome her “computer illiteracy”.

After experiencing the valuable support of MercyCare first-hand, Fariba decide to offer her time to teach students in her own area of expertise, dressmaking.

Fariba spends every Friday working with a group of about 11 students, who have been navigating the world of fabric, patterns and sewing. She says volunteering at MercyCare is as rewarding for her personally as it is for her students.

“It is very empowering for the students; they are learning a skill which could provide them an income, and they can make clothing for their family,” Fariba said.

“You can go to any country in the world and make your own living if you know how to sew. You just need your brain and a sewing needle and you can go from there. After learning these skills one of the ladies in my class is planning to open up her own business doing clothing alterations, which is wonderful.

“One thing I love is seeing the students at the beginning where they have limited skills, so I teach them how to measure and at first they know nothing but at the end of the course they make these perfect garments.”

Fariba said the sewing class is always grateful to receive donations from the community to help support their learning, and would welcome donations ranging from small haberdashery items such as cotton and pins, through to patterns, material or sewing machines.

One of Fariba’s students is Nicky Kulevska from Nollamara, who said she loves coming to the classes.

“Every day we learn something new, and meet new people. We’ve become like a family and we understand each other because we’re all learning things at the same time. It’s nice to be here,” Nicky said. 

MercyCare Chief Executive Officer Chris Hall said the work of volunteers such as Fariba has a wide-reaching impact on people in the local community.

“MercyCare’s vision is for people and communities to thrive, and it’s through programs such as Fariba’s sewing classes at MercyCare Mirrabooka that this vision comes to life, because we can help people in the local community access and learn meaningful skills which they can then take away and use for their own benefit in the real world,” he said.

“We are hugely grateful to the many volunteers at MercyCare, such as Fariba, who volunteer their time to help improve the lives of others in the community. National Volunteer Week is a chance for us to show our appreciation to these volunteers, and acknowledge their work in the wider community.”