Many Hands Come Together To Support Women From Refugee Backgrounds

Community

Melbourne-based events social enterprise has just launched Many Hands, with support from some local hospitality heavyweights and much-loved creatives.

The eight-week paid-training initiative aims to create better employment opportunities for women from refugee backgrounds. To celebrate, they’ve produced this series of powerful portraits – a showcase of the resilience, strength, and potential of all the women involved!

17th June, 2019

Many Hands participants Nikki and Zeituna. Photo – Stina Evjan, of and . Art direction –
Participants wear apparel and footwear. Floristry by .

Many Hands participants Jess and Raga. Photo – Stina Evjan, of and . Art direction –
Participants wear apparel and footwear.

Many Hands participant Asanti. Photo – Stina Evjan, of and . Art direction –
Participants wear apparel and footwear. Floristry by , linens by .

Merchant Road founder Jane Marx. Photo – Stina Evjan, of and . Art direction –
Jane wear apparel and footwear. Floristry by , linens by .

Elle Murrell
Monday 17th June 2019

‘… strength, style, and power emanate from the women we work with.’ – Jane Marx.

believe that true hospitality is about welcoming others, and forging a sense of community around a table.

The Melbourne-based not-for-profit has just launched their new training program Many Hands. By providing eight weeks of paid training to women experiencing barriers to employment, it aims to equip participants with skills to find work in the events and hospitality industry.

‘The program has already helped me in many ways; it has not only helped me in gaining experience, skills, and knowledge in a practical environment, but also prepared me for job opportunities and made my resume broader and now I can proudly say I have the experience, and hence I am a good candidate for more employment opportunities,’ tells Many Hands participant Zeituna.

True to its name, the initiative leverages the strength of collaboration. Skills in coffee making, service, wine, and floristry, are being taught by the likes of , , , , and .

‘Merchant Road is a not-for-profit with a social mission to empower women through work, and the way we do this is quite unique’. explains founder Jane Marx. ‘We partner with the best busi­nesses in the industry; we have a strong signa­ture aesthetic and we create really special dining experiences. Ultimately, we invite people to come to the events we run so they can experience something exceptional. If they support our social mission, that’s a bonus!’

To celebrate its launch, Merchant Road has produced this powerful photo series inspired by a portrait of female entrepreneurs in CEO Magazine. ‘Obviously, the young women we work with are very much at the beginning of their career journey. However, when I saw that image, I thought, that’s us there. That same strength, style, and power emanate from the women we work with. This is an important step in changing the visual narrative of what a strong woman looks like,’ explains Jane.

Merchant Road worked with Australian-designed, Italian-made footwear label , local sustainable label , Cecilia Fox, and on the exquisite campaign, which was shot at in Fitzroy.

Funded by the Victorian Government’s initiative, Many Hands is currently being run as a pilot program with 14 young women until December. A series of long-table dinners will take place at the conclusion of each training, providing program participants with the opportunity to gain experience hosting events open to the public.

Purchase tickets for Many Hands’ upcoming dinners . Find out more about the initiative at .

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