BRMC Business-in-Residence

Housekeeping at the Ballarat Welcome Centre has readied the new Women’s Business-in-Residence space, just in time for contracted resident Nyibol Deng to move her enterprise A TUK into the new digs.

In the coming months, A TUK will be joined in the upstairs enterprise space by Mary Deng and Mary Top of Mat Tetni, Joy Sawiche of Joyful Hands, and artist Nyagak Yang.


A graduate of the Ballarat Stepping Stones to Small Business Program, Nyibol has established A TUK to produce a unique line of handcrafted housewares and fashion accessories combining re-purposed fabric with distinctive and colourful West African wax cloth.

Selling online and through regional markets, A TUK features made-to-order and production cushions of all sizes and styles, street-fashion shoulder bags combining recycled denim jeans and wax cloth, sun and bucket hats, and soon to come, a line of designer serviettes and tea towels.

Through A TUK Nyibol seeks to bring some of the colour and vibrancy of her mother countries of South Sudan and Ethiopia to Australian homes. “Colour is life and joy in Africa,” says Nyibol, “and I want to bring some of that joy to my new home in Australia with A TUK.”

Over the next two years, the A TUK Business-in-Residence with BRMC will provide Nyibol with space to produce her products and ongoing mentoring support for her developing business. As one of Ballarat’s most active entrepreneurs, Nyibol is both encouraging her own community members to explore what it means to be your own boss, and contributing to our local economy.

Community Engagement Team

Developing Our Children Together

Parents and children who participated in the Developing Our Children Together workshop (Group A) on 29 April, seeded, planted and watered the BRMC garden bed in front of the Welcome Centre under the guidance of BRMC Thrive Garden Project Coordinator, Rebecca. Participants enjoyed the day with joy and laughter. Now we can see the climbing peas blooming in the mini garden and the silver beet is ready for harvest. It is delightful to see the fruits of the time that our parents and children have contributed together. They will be able to use the harvested silver beet in soups, hotpot and curries. After school holidays, parents and children will be invited to garden and harvest when the Multicultural Playgroup begins on 15 July.

Multicultural Playgroup will be held every Thursday and a DOCT workshop every Friday, when Term 3 commences. If you want to join the program, please contact Heeyoung on 0410 760 618 or

BMA Parenting Workshop

More good news is that on 3 July, the Ballarat Malayalee Association (BMA) successfully ran their project ABCD (Australian Based Culturally Diverse Parents) Parenting Workshop, supported by the BRMC Community Engagement Team and the City of Ballarat. Parents who attended the workshop had the opportunity to obtain important and meaningful parenting skills to help overcome the challenges and issues of raising their children in Australia. This precious information was delivered by Sarabjit Kaur, BRMC Migrant English Program Coordinator, and Dr Anoop Lalitha, Dr Jacob Kulathikulangara, and Dr Shabna Rajapaksa from Ballarat Health Services. Through this program, we hope that the children of BMA will have the opportunity to enjoy a more advanced mental, physical, and cultural life in Australia as multicultural children.

Stepping Stones to Small Business

Stepping Stones Ballarat Regional Coordinator, Deborah Klein completed delivery of a pilot 5-day online Empowerment Pathways Program to clients of the Jobs Victoria Employment Network (JVEN), just as news was breaking that the full Stepping Stones to Small Business Program has been funded for a further two year period through 2022.

This good news will see Stepping Stones available to more women across regional Victoria – and many more opportunities for those women to realise their dreams of financial independence and micro-enterprise.

Planning is underway, so keep your eyes open for more announcements and recruitment opening for participants from across our region.

Good Governance Program

Food is Free Laneway Inc. (FIF) board members met their Good Governance Volunteer Mentor – Nancy Myrianthis on 29 June 2021. The Director-Founder of FIF – Lou Ridsdale introduced the new committee members and stated that the team’s quest for a better understanding of the key factors of a not-for-profit, including financials, strategy, fundraising, operations, volunteer wellbeing and community engagement, guided by good governance practices was their motivation behind joining BRMC’s Good Governance program. The session was enlivened by discussions around exploring the possibilities of growth and improvement over the next few months.

BRMC’s Good Governance program offers free governance mentoring support to community organisations, cultural groups and associations looking for governance and compliance advice.

Whether you are a board member, committee member or someone in the community – there’s something to gain for everyone! Contact Sarabjit at

Community Volunteers: Migrant English Program

Margaret Lenan Ellis has been a Volunteer Tutor with the Migrant English Program for over two years. With her meticulous session planning and careful guidance, she has mentored several students and taken them closer to achieving their language learning goals.

Here’s Margaret, sharing her experience:
The most rewarding experience I’ve enjoyed in BRMC’s English Tutoring programme has been a long-term one of over two years. The others less so because the commitment of the clients was short lived, whether because of finding the English language learning process too great a challenge at the age of 50 or so, or because life was already too great a challenge, raising a young child as a single parent at the same time as studying and working part-time.
My long-term Chinese student, already quite competent in English, was a young adult student at Federation University who wanted to improve her competency with conversational English. Initially, pre-COVID, we met in the city library and would base our sessions together on units of study that had an oral component; and share conversations on a TV programme she elected to watch and then talk about.
Later, via WhatsApp, this progressed to talking about her part-time work and issues that arose which puzzled or troubled her; and also reading together online websites about pregnancy, childbirth and raising babies as she began planning for a family. This led to a rich opportunity to extend her knowledge of related vocabulary and for us to practise conversations at doctors’ appointments or casually with friends.
I thoroughly enjoy helping to make a positive difference in someone else’s life through teaching.

The Migrant English Program offers free English tutoring to empower individuals with the language skills required for their social and professional growth. To participate/volunteer, contact Sarabjit at

Diversity Homework Club

Vanessa Seymour is one of our Diversity Homework Club (DHC) Reading Room Tutors who, along with Anne Slattery, manages the students’ Reading Awards.

Here’s Vanessa, talking about her experience with Reading Breakout Room:
This term Anne and I discussed books and reading with twenty different children. They ranged in age and ability from kindergarten, younger siblings of older attendees, to a couple of children aged thirteen. Their enthusiasm increased over the term as we got to know them and their interests. The children read extracts from their books and talked about what they liked about the characters and the story line.
The most popular books for all ages were books by Ahn Do and other authors with amusing characters, Weirdo, Captain Underpants and Diary of a Wimpy Kid were all very popular. Graphic novels were also popular both for literary content and the art work.
I have really enjoyed the time I have spent with the children, particularly seeing their skills improve and their taste in books expand. I look forward to the next term and to awarding the certificates for this term. I am still getting the names of certificate winners together, but am very pleased that we have several gold awards to give out.

We’re delighted to announce the Good Readers’ Awardees for Term 2:

Gold AwardSilver AwardBronze AwardAppreciation

Meet DHC Students: Eliyeza and Godgive are two of our talented DHC students. Eliyeza plays the flute and Godgive loves to draw.

“I like Diversity Homework Club because it helps me more with my learning and I love how we get to make songs and sing together. It inspires me as we get to learn facts and new words. We read stories and books.”
– Eliyeza, DHC student

Jinup Lual and Ankita Hari, with their Gold Reading Awards for Term 1:

Diversity Homework Club is a learning community creating learning opportunities to support Primary and Secondary level students. For more information contact Sarabjit at

Diversity Homework Club: Creative Field Trips

The Diversity Homework Club Creative Workshop Program finished Term 2 with a series of three weekly Creative Field Trips for students, introducing them to the people and places that make Ballarat a celebrated Creative City.

Week One saw the students travelling to nearby Learmonth, where they spent the day creating collaborative drawings and exploring the discipline of screenprinting at the artHALL Learmonth with hosts Sarah Lloyd and Geoff Bonney. Before heading for home, the students also visited Indigenous artist Deanne Gilson’s Muurup Laar installation in the Ballarat North Gardens.

Week Two, students visited the Art Gallery of Ballarat, where they enjoyed a special guided tour of selected works from the Gallery Collection, before visiting artist Emily Van Der Molen in the ArtSpace Ballarat and the Old Butcher Shop Gallery in Soldiers Hill, where artist Axel Scholhz was exhibiting his landscape paintings.

Week Three was a blockbuster, with the students visiting the DJ Projects sculpture fabrication studio in Napoleons, hosted by artist Julie Collins, before travelling into nearby Buninyong to explore the Public Art Murals behind the main street shopfronts. The day ended with a special surprise visit to the beautiful Salt Bush Kitchen, where owner and Indigenous food producer Brigid Corcoran spoke to the students and invited them to smell and taste delicious foods made with indigenous plant ingredients.

Social Support

BRMC Senior clients enjoyed a lovely Bus Trip to Bendigo on 24 June. We visited the Bendigo Art Gallery and café and the magnificent Sacred Heart Cathedral.

July Social Support Programs

Please note that all programs are subject to COVID-19 restrictions and may be postponed with short notice.

Tai Chi: 13, 20 & 27 July, 1pm – 2pm ($5)
Multicultural Tucker (Spanish): Wednesday 14 July, 12pm – 3pm ($10)
Carer Support Hub / Social Hub: Thursday 22 July, 10am – 3pm ($5 Social Hub, $10 Carer Support Hub)
Health & Wellbeing Seasonal Lunch: Wednesday 28 July, 11.30am – 2pm ($10)

All programs are held at Victoria Bowling Club, 231 Victoria St, Ballarat East (enter via Stawell St N). Bookings essential.

If you know someone who would benefit from BRMC Social Support Services, contact Teresa on 0417 109 052 or

Volunteer Opportunity: Reception/Admin

Volunteering with BRMC is a great way to learn new skills, gain confidence, be part of a community, meet new people and make a difference!

Do you have one or two half days per week to be our receptionist? We have morning and afternoon shifts available, Monday to Friday. You decide which days and hours suit you.

Contact Suzanne on 03 5383 0613 or