Training and Employment
Many of the residents at the Carlton Estate are from a refugee background, have never worked in Australia and have little or no English language skills. The opportunity to participate in the Sorghum Sisters’ 13 to 16 week training course in hospitality provides a pathway to secure long term employment in the hospitality services industry.
The accredited vocational training course includes practical hands on experience in food preparation and safe food handling practices, allowing participants to gain entry-level jobs in hospitality. A two-day training course in food hygiene is also made available for those local residents who may wish to prepare or sell food for community events.
School Healthy Lunches
During his time as Lord Mayor of Melbourne, John So launched the Healthy Lunches initiative, responding to the needs of students to access healthy and nutritious lunches. This initiative has since been taken up at both the Carlton Primary School and Brunswick South Primary School where the Sorghum Sisters play an integral role in the promotion of healthy eating habits amongst the school children.
The promotion of healthy eating is particularly important in these schools with the majority of the students come from families who are refugees from the Horn of Africa. The lack of traditional foods available at a local level, combined with the ease of replacing these ingredients with cheap fast food alternatives that are high in sugar, fat and salt have resulted in increasing cases of diabetes and other health problems amongst newly arrived families.
By providing healthy lunches to the school children and staff, the Sorghum Sisters has been able to educate the school community on the availability of affordable and healthy food alternatives.
Other Community Projects
In addition to training for employment and promoting healthy eating, the Sorghum Sisters is constantly involved in a range of local community projects and events. The Enterprise has catered for communities to aid in celebrating Harmony Day, Refugee Day and Cultural Diversity Week. They have been invited to speak in various workshops and conferences, joined the local community in tree planting and other earth friendly initiatives, and hosted visitors on tours.
In 2006, the Sorghum Sisters received the prestigious Melbourne City Award under the category of Community Services.