Tribute to My Sisters’ Kitchen

What a wonderful time we've had at My Sisters' Kitchen over the years. With our funding from the Department of Social Services wrapping up at the end of February, it is time to reflect on the My Sisters' Kitchen journey and hopes for its future.

Our story began in 2008 when DCA worker and community leader Josie Mesiku wanted to bring women together to establish an 'African Kitchen' mobile catering business. Sadly, Josie passed away soon after. Wanting to honour her passion and carry on her project, Josie's co-workers at DCA applied for Diverse Australia funding. The application was shortlisted and My Sisters' Kitchen (MSK)- a program focussing on sharing recipes, stories, and cultural information - was born. 

Since then the MSK program has fostered a shared sense of belonging and social cohesion for women from across the world, with participants' backgrounds ranging from Burmese, Afghani, Sudanese, Bhutanese, Ethiopian, Iranian, Ugandan, Sri Lankan, Congolese, Filipino and further afield.

My Sisters' Kitchen in name reads as a cooking program, however in practice, the activities that have happened within our 'kitchen' are much broader than cooking. Over the years, our proverbial 'kitchen table' has been a place for important conversations, sharing of skills and coming together as a community. The women have shared their stories through theatre and multimedia, developed their talents in cooking and catering and, recently, have expressed their creativity through sewing, weaving and other textile arts practices.

In 2012 the program's original dream of establishing a social enterprise catering caravan came to fruition through a grant from the Ian Potter Foundation. After a few setbacks, the My Sisters' Kitchen Caravan came to life in 2014 catering at events such at Seabreeze, Bagot Festival, City of Darwin's Launch events and other functions.

This year we would like to see the My Sisters' Kitchen caravan grow as the social enterprise arm of DCA, catering for arts festivals and community events while also supporting DCA's core mission to make and share arts in our region. 

At the end of February the regular Monday night program will come to an end. However, the textile arts activities will re-incarnate as 'Our Common Threads', inviting women of diverse backgrounds to make textile art through sewing, weaving, screen printing, beading, dying, knitting and crocheting. This program will be on a smaller scale than MSK, running on Wednesday mornings beginning in May.

The absence of ongoing funding for MSK has been a great loss. However, the creativity, resilience and passion of the women involved inspires us to keep finding the means to support our programs. A great thank you to all those individuals and community groups who have supported us through the years with generous donations of their time and resources.

If you have an idea how to support these new 'MSK' programs please speak to us on 8945 7347 or email at mail@darwincommunityarts.org.au. Thank you!