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MEDIA RELEASE: Victorian women from multicultural backgrounds celebrate their graduation from a life-changing program

Brotherhood of St Laurence 2 mins read

Around forty women from refugee, migrant and asylum-seeking backgrounds today celebrated their graduation from the Brotherhood of St. Laurence’s (BSL) Stepping Stones to Financial Wellbeing program.


The program provides opportunities for women from diverse backgrounds to achieve financial wellbeing through starting a business, finding employment, training pathways, mentoring and support.


Funded by the Victorian Government, Stepping Stones has supported nearly 2000 women from multicultural backgrounds since 2011.


“Stepping Stones is a life-changing program. It not only helps women to fulfil their dreams of running their own business, but it also provides much needed social connection and guidance in whatever path they choose to pursue. By empowering these women, we often find that it can have a positive impact on their families and their communities at large’, said BSL’s Chief Services Officer, Julie Ware.


“Recently a group of inspiring African women graduated from the Stepping Stones program opened their own store in Ballarat, Women of the Well, selling home décor, jewellery and other goods celebrating their culture. It was a dream come true for them.”


Stepping Stones graduate, Reema, explained how important the program was to her: “It wasn't easy to get a job in Australia without having any local work experience. Stepping Stones has always supported me, made me believe and trust myself, and helped me become an independent woman.”


 “Work that empowers women – especially women from migrant and refugee backgrounds and women over 55  –  with the vital skills and experiences needed to run their own businesses, pursue their chosen career pathways and set them up for financial wellbeing, is crucial work”, said the Minister for Women, Natalie Hutchins.


“Today’s Stepping Stones program graduates represent the great diversity we’re so lucky to have here in Victoria and I’d like to wish them all the best in their future endeavours.”


The graduation was held at the Melbourne Multicultural Hub, Elizabeth Street.


For more information on Stepping Stones to Financial Wellbeing visit Stepping Stones | Brotherhood of St. Laurence (


The Brotherhood of St. Laurence is a social justice organisation working to prevent and alleviate poverty across Australia.


Media Enquiries: Bridie Riordan 0491 159 256 Email:


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