Mama Rashida dreams of sharing her culture with Adelaide

Mama Rashida dreams of sharing her culture with Adelaide

Even as a little girl in her home country of Sierra Leone, 35-year-old Rashidatu Kamara knew her future laid in food.

Growing up, Rashidatu would watch the joy her mother took in cooking for family gatherings, weddings and other special events. Rashidatu now pours the same love and passion into every meal she prepares.

“I have a deep love for food – my cupboard, fridge and freezer are always full, and I am always surrounded by food,” she said.

“I put time and love into each recipe and every meal and I only serve meals that I love and that I know other people will love too.”

Now living in Adelaide’s northern suburbs, Rashidatu’s dream is one step closer to reality. Starting with cooking lunches for office workers in the area, Rashidatu plans to expand her African food business and open her own restaurant.

A qualified chef, Rashidatu has lived in Australia for the past 17 years and discovered the LaunchME program, run by Good Shepherd Microfinance, in 2016.

“I was introduced to the LaunchME program by a financial counsellor at Good Shepherd Microfinance, who recognised my talent for cooking and knew I was passionate about opening a restaurant and sharing my cooking with people,” said the mother of two.

“I was invited to do the catering for the introductory LaunchME workshops, and then for the official launch of the program. This was a great opportunity to let people see… and taste… what I could do.”

LaunchME, which is supported by the South Australian Government, was introduced to ensure people on low incomes had equal access to the opportunities provided through business entrepreneurialism and innovation.

Rashidatu said the program has given her the energy and skills to pursue her dream.

“With the support of the business coach and mentors, I have developed a business plan and mapped out the steps I need to take to open a restaurant,” she said.

“To start with, I will use the kitchens at the Twelve25 Salisbury Youth Enterprise Centre two to three days a week to cook lunches for office workers in the area, and I’ll run an Africa night once a month. From there, I hope to move into my own space and do what I love.”

One of more than 20 aspiring small business owners in the Adelaide area taking part in the LaunchME program, Rashidatu regularly meets with the other participants and business coaches to develop her business ideas and skills.

“We all meet about once a month, along with the business coaches, to share ideas and plan out our next steps,” she said.

“It has been great to learn from each other’s experiences as we set up our businesses and to have a support network we can turn to for advice.”


LaunchME is an initiative of Good Shepherd Microfinance and the South Australian Government that supports innovative small business ideas from people in South Australia.

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