Sonia says there’s nothing like the feeling of satisfaction when customers are happy with her alternations service.

“My business is a part of me, it shapes my character, it gives me a feeling of independence,” she says.

When Sonia first arrived in Australia five years ago, it was hard to get a job. She couldn’t speak English and had no financial support. But she was happy to start a new life living closer to her daughter and leaving the turmoil of the post-civil war economic crisis in Lebanon.

Sonia dreamed of starting her own alterations small business in Australia. In her home country, she was renowned for her talents on the sewing machine, tailoring clothes to her customers’ exact requirements. Whether it was repairing damaged clothes or making alterations, Sonia’s professional tailoring services left customers feeling comfortable and confident.

“It gives me a feeling of satisfaction when my customers are happy with my services,” she says.

Sonia was introduced to Grameen Australia by a friend and then she met with Centre Manager, Nawal Semaan, to discuss her business idea. She joined the Grameen Today program in May 2022 and successfully obtained a loan of $4,500 which covered the cost of three sewing machines and accessories.

“Grameen Australia is an amazing organisation. We have financial training and peer support. I know that I can afford a loan and start my small business in the right way,” says Sonia.

Today Sonia is happy zipping along on her new sewing machines, hemming trousers and tailoring jackets to the perfect size. She’s looking forward to growing her business and becoming financially independent.

“I would like to take my small business to a higher level, to have my own big workshop,” she says.

She doesn’t hesitate to recommend Grameen Australia to other women interested in small business.

“If you have a hobby or talent you want to turn into a business, be part of Grameen Australia.”

About Grameen Australia

Grameen Australia aims to enable 30,000 women to build small businesses that generate incomes and meaningful livelihoods. With a focus on reaching women who are experiencing unemployment, financial exclusion, and poverty, our unique model creates opportunities to realise financial independence in a social and supportive environment. We’re a not-for-profit organisation founded on the highly successful Grameen Bank Model developed in the late 1970s by Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Professor Muhammad Yunus, in Bangladesh. Since then, Grameen’s programs have expanded to 59 countries and positively impacted more than 300 million people around the world.