EAST AFRICAN SISTERS

Mr PEARSON (Essendon)- I rise to speak of the exciting news of the first Somalian chilli sauce commercially produced in Australia hitting the market. The makers of this stunning sauce, known as basbaas, are Safiya and Fahan. Safiya, born in Ethiopia, and Fahan, who fled civil war in Somalia, formed a tight bond when they met 15 years ago in Melbourne. Between them they have 11 children and speak five languages. Earlier in 2020 Safiya and Fahan participated in the Food Business Boost incubator program, a collaboration between Moonee Valley City Council, Flemington Works and Sustain: the Australian Food Network, funded by the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions through Small Business Victoria. The program provided workshops and mentoring specific to starting food businesses. From this training and development opportunity East African Sisters basbaas was born:

We call our business East African Sisters because our connection is as strong as sisters …

Fahan says.

We support each other and we support other women as well. Everyone helps each other.

Last month I was delighted to attend the launch of East African Sisters products at Macca Halal Meats in Flemington and purchase the very first jars of the red and green chilli sauces Somalians add to almost every dish. The launch received some media coverage, including an article this week on SBS Food. The joy on the faces of these two women as they launched their business and sent their jars of commercially produced sauce out into the culinary market was an absolute sight to behold. This kind of outcome from a very small investment shows just why we must as a government, as a community, keep providing opportunities for our diverse communities to thrive and thrive. Congratulations, East African Sisters.