Sewing accessories: bobbins of thread, scissors, needle, thimble

People from a range of countries and cultures are encouraged to share their experiences with others at the fortnightly Women’s Arts and Sewing Circle.

Orange City Council’s Services Policy Committee Chair Ron Gander said the group is an opportunity for new arrivals to Orange to practice English and meet others with similar backgrounds.

It also acts as a conduit to other services.

“It’s difficult to meet people and find out about the range of services available if English is not your first language, but the women who go to the Women’s Arts and Sewing Circle are there to help,” Cr Gander said.

“Anyone who has recently arrived to Orange from another country is welcome and it’s a great opportunity to share your culture with others.”

Migrant Support Officer Anni Gallagher was the group’s host and said she could help women apply for government assistance, apply for jobs, access education courses but importantly the group gives people a social outlet, where in some cases there might have been none.

“In the past I’ve come across women who have been sitting at home for months on end while their husbands work because they don’t speak English confidently and don’t know anyone in Orange,” she said.

“But I’ve seen some of these women come to the sewing circle and make lifelong friendships in the group and then go on to help others come out of their shell and really engage with the community.”

Kalkidan Mwadaani came to Orange from Ethiopia 17 years ago. She said she was young when she left Ethiopia and does not have strong memories of her home country but loves the opportunity to share her culture with the group.

She said it strengthens her own understanding and appreciation for her culture.

“I love sharing my culture because there’s not a lot of Ethiopian culture in Orange,” she said.
“I enjoy sharing what I know and bringing in items from my home country.”

The Women’s Arts and Sewing Circle meets in the Senior Citizens Centre fortnightly. The next gathering is March 10 from 10am to 12.30pm. Children are welcome.