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Wesley Mission, Suncorp and Darcy St are changing lives, one coffee at a time

31 May 2018 Wesley Mission news
From left: Shaha, barista trainer, Sandesh & Darcy Street Project founder, John

From left: Student, Shaha, barista trainer, Sandesh and Darcy Street Project founder, John.

From the war-torn streets of Syria to a barista-in-training in Sydney’s CBD, 21-year-old Shahe is starting a new life thanks to a partnership between Wesley Mission, Suncorp and Darcy Street Project.

Over the next three months, Shahe will complete formal hospitality training with the Wesley Vocational Institute (WVI) and work experience at the Suncorp Community Café. The café is located in the Suncorp Discovery Store on Pitt Street Mall and Shahe will be trained by John Cafferatta, founder of Darcy Street Project, a social enterprise coffee school that helps marginalised young people develop employment skills.

“Each year a number of Australians from diverse backgrounds struggle to access the know-how they need to secure employment,” said Wesley Mission CEO, the Rev Dr Keith Garner.

“To meet this challenge the Suncorp Community Café is providing much-needed resources, support and experience so they can confidently pursue further education or entry to the workforce.”

Shaha learns to make coffee at Suncorp Community Cafe

Shahe learns to make coffee at Suncorp Community Cafe.

Shahe remembers his family’s escape from the bombed and besieged Syrian city of Aleppo. He describes a place where “guns were everywhere” and a life where there was “no safety at all”. Forced into the Syrian army, Shahe fled with his parents and brother to Lebanon where they lived for the last three years.

He now resides with his family in western Sydney and is grateful for the opportunity to learn skills at the Suncorp Community Café and through training provided by WVI.

Shahe is one of eight students undertaking a Certificate II in Hospitality course. The WVI course will eventually see 32 disadvantaged people engaged in the program. He said he was looking forward to the prospects provided to him.

“Every new country provides new experiences and opportunities,” Shahe said.

“I am looking for a career here in Australia, not a hand out. I want to work. I love to be able to provide a service to people. I have dreams. My parents are excited. I am happy for them.”

Shahe is thankful for the support of Suncorp, Wesley Mission and Darcy Street.

“I have been down and I want to give everything back I’ve been given,” he said.