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Fri, 16 January 2015

Crowdfunding for refugee staffed Cafe Melbourne

Filed under: General — site admin @ 12:17 pm

Melbourne-based café owners, Jane and Francois Marx have turned to crowd funding to build a café that provides training and employment opportunities for young refugees.

With 20 years combined experience in the hospitality industry and a passion for refugee rights, the Marx’s first launched the Long Street Café concept in January 2014 as a pop-up café at the popular music festival St Jerome’s Laneway in Melbourne. The couple hired two young refugees – both of which had never been employed in Australia before – to work with them on the stand.

Following the pop-up’s success (together with huge progress in terms of the skills honed by the couple’s newest employees), Long Street Café was invited to run a second pop-up, this time at the Melbourne Festival of Live Art.

The success of the pop-ups drove the Marx’s to search for a permanent space for Long Street Café, which they have since secured in the Melbourne suburb of Richmond. The plan now is to raise enough money to properly fit out the new site as a fully functioning café and training facility for young refugees.

The couple have thus far successfully raised $18,746 via a campaign on crowdfunding site Pozible.

“Working in hospitality, we’ve seen numerous young people from refugee backgrounds walk in to cafes looking for work, only for their resume to end up in the bin,” says the Marx on their Pozible page.

“Little to no Australian work experience, less-than-perfect English language skills, and often a lack of self-confidence, are usually the reasons for this. As everyone can understand, it’s very difficult to feel a sense of belonging, to make friends, and to be self-sufficient when you don’t have a job.

“Our dream is that Long Street will come to play an important role in building a more progressive and inclusive Australia, a place where asylum seekers and refugees feel welcome. We think that when the person making your coffee just so happens to be a refugee, it might make it a little bit harder for people to believe the negative stereotypes of so-called boat people. We know that there are many people out there who also believe that we need to do more to give refugee and asylum seekers a fair go.”

Long Street Café will aim to help young refugees find their feet in the Australian workplace by providing them with a six-month paid traineeship, after which, they will aim to assist their trainees in securing ongoing employment.

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