Press Release: Celebrating Positive Social Change through Community Enterprise

August 16, 2017

On Thursday, the 17th of August, fifteen migrant and refugee background women will be celebrating their graduation from the Auckland Migrant and refugee Training Enterprise (AMARTE) project, where they, over the course of 3 months, participated in tailored training in hospitality. The intended outcome of the project is to provide a welcoming learning environment for these women in order for them to come out of social isolation, up skill and become financially independent by gaining work or to start their own entrepreneurial initiatives.

ARMS Chief Executive, Rochana Sheward strongly believes that this initiative is only a stepping stone in reshaping the lives of the women.

“This project was created to assist refugee and migrant background women with the knowledge and resources to become economically self-sufficient through training, employment, entrepreneurship, and financial literacy. More follow up funding support is needed to ensure that these women are fully integrated into the workforce.”

“We would like to help women on their journey to connect, integrate and become independent and self-sufficient.”

Women from over 11 different ethnicities, including, Ethiopian, Afghani, Indian, Sri Lankan, Kurdish, Chinese, Burmese, Somalian, Iraqi, and Pakistani participated in this intensive programme operated from the Roskill Youth Zone and Wesley Community Centre, which focused on upskilling the English language needs of the participants, hands-on-training on barista-style coffee, kiwi baking, and sessions on food control plan and safety.

Sapana Gehlot, who will be graduating from the programme with an Excellence, feels that she is closer to achieving her dream of opening her own bakery!

“I came from India in 2010 with my family and felt very isolated, staying at home. I discovered AMARTE on social media and joined the programme earlier this year.”

“After completing the training, I have made so many friends, learnt so many new techniques and skills, I feel confident when speaking about coffee making and baking and more importantly, I have learnt the reality of running your own business through the Pop Up Café we have ran”, she adds.

Following graduation, a significant number of women indicated their interest in pursuing paths that include starting their own catering business from home (they have gained a food safety certificate) or joining WISE catering, gaining work experience in the Pop up Cafe, enrolling in further classes such as English and employment pathways programmes.

AMARTE is joint initiative led by Auckland Regional Migrant Services (ARMS), in partnership with the New Zealand Ethnic Women Trust, funded by Sky City Community Trust and supported By Puketapapa Local Board.

For further details, please contact Shoma Prasad, ARMS Communications Manager at or Phone on 0210560935