Newmarket Rotary Kick-Start Winners Training Immigrants And Creating Jobs
Cottonseed, a New Zealand based clothing label that supports immigrant women to resettle and integrate into their new society, is the winner of this year’s Rotary Newmarket $10,000 Kick-Start Award, run in conjunction with the Ākina Foundation.
The social enterprise was created by non-profit, New Zealand Ethnic Women Inc, as a way to build on skills that migrants have brought with them to New Zealand.
After ten years of successfully training immigrants through their “Sewing School”, now Cottonseed provides graduates an opportunity for sustainable employment.
Founder, Fadumo Ahmad, says immigrants and refugees who work with Cottonseed get a taste of leadership that they’ve never been able to experience in their own culture. They learn how to speak English in a working environment, and also have access to financial literacy and budgeting classes.
“Ladies who were on the benefit, now have part-time or full-time employment. They’re able to become role models within their communities but also roles models for their children,” says Fadumo.
Ākina Foundation Chief Executive, Alex Hannant, said the group’s work training and employing immigrant and refugee women was impressive.
“Their already making a real impact in their community, providing employment to Fadumo immigrants and refugees from countries like Somalia, Ethiopia, Thailand, Pakistan, India and more,” said Mr Hannant.
Cottonseed has had significant interest from Sewing School graduates, but due to resource constraints, are currently unable to take on additional employees.
The $10,000 Newmarket Rotary Kick-Start Award prize will be used to purchase additional sewing equipment, along with marketing, paying their staff and buying materials.
Other finalists for the Award included Duffle & Co, Eat My Lunch, Foster Our Future, Kitchen Science, Make Give Live, and Organic Edible Garden.
President of Rotary Club of Newmarket, Michelle Smith, was thrilled with the quality of entrants this year.
“After a successful inaugural award in 2016, our members had a wonderful night connecting with the finalists around their impressive social enterprises. We’re convinced that this is a smart way to invest in our communities and see tangible social, environmental and economic impact,” says Mrs Smith.
For more information about any of these social enterprises, and to show your support, visit www.akina.org.nz/newmarketrotarykickstart2017