MercyCare / News / MercyCare helps build refugee livelihoods

MercyCare helps build refugee livelihoods

Candle and soap making workshops have proved to be a pivotal step towards building enterprise opportunities among refugee women. 

Hosted by MercyCare’s Multicultural Services team, the workshops have been delivered over the past few months as part of several small-scale experiments in an effort to help build livelihoods among refugees as well as developing new skills to help start their own enterprises.

Building from the workshops, one of the participants, Rubina Saleem, was tasked with making a large batch of quality handmade soaps which uses olive oil from olives harvested at MercyCare’s Wembley site and are scented with lemon myrtle essential oils.

Beautifully packaged and sold under the name ‘Good Habits’,100 per cent of proceeds from Good Habit soap sales going directly back into helping refugees develop their own enterprises.  

“The team used some of the initial funds raised to purchase soap making kits for some of the participants, who have started making their own soaps to sell at the Mirrabooka Markets and through their own communities,” MercyCare Service Designer Joni Sercombe said.

So far, the work gone into equipping refugee women with enterprise skills has been a success.

Recently, MercyCare's Multicultural Services hosted a pop-up stall at Riverview Church in the lead-up to Mother’s Day and sold the Good Habits soap while also showcasing MercyCare’s work in building refugee enterprises. Featured alongside this was one of the refugee enterprises, Mama and Bub Loving Care.

“Rubina was paid to give free hand massages to congregation members, and sold gift vouchers for her mum and baby massage service,” Joni said.

“It was a great showcase of our work, with high levels of engagement — queues of people lined up for a hand massage and several thousand dollars worth of sales was generated.”

The team will continue to experiment with enterprise opportunities in the coming months.

To buy Good Habits soap, go to or speak to MercyCare's Service Development Team at Ord St.