Thousands of years before horse-drawn carriages and cars moved us from one place to another, Indigenous traders used dreaming (trading) paths to share ideas and barter with other communities across the country.
The dreaming paths were also major ceremonial routes that collectively shared in cultural values.
Aboriginal Community Member, Seigna, is designing her own business trading jewellery and traditional artefacts with the hope of working towards reviving the dreaming paths her ancestors walked.
Born in the Wakka Wakka nation in Queensland, her childhood was tainted by a cycle of family violence and foster care. Seigna’s life could have easily turned down the wrong track but instead she wanted a different life for her and her four daughters.
Seigna now lives in regional South Australia and is a recognised, actively cultured respected member of her community.
Before joining Good Shepherd Microfinance’s LaunchME program, Seigna exhausted all avenues to find people to connect with to start her business. Operating in South Australia, LaunchME enables people on low incomes to develop and establish their own small businesses of five or less people.
“Being a single mum and on Centrelink payments, finding an organisation to back my business idea was almost impossible,” Seigna said.
“Then I found out about the LaunchME program when I was enquiring about a loan through another one of Good Shepherd Microfinances’ programs, the No Interest Loans Scheme (NILS).
“What I found through LaunchME was much more than just a business loan.
“The LaunchME team understands and supports my vision for the future and how important it is to me to re-establish Aboriginal cultural exchange traditions as part of my business.
“Having people believe in me has dramatically changed my life. Being part of the LaunchME program is like being part of an extended family, similar to how cultured people embrace their friends and family.
“To sum it up, LaunchMe has given to me the act of hope. I wake every day with renewed purpose,” she said enthusiastically.
Even the very long travel times on public transport for meetings don’t hold her back.
Seigna travels two hours each way by bus to see the LaunchME team in the northern suburbs of Adelaide on a regular basis and says if she had to double her travel time, she wouldn’t hesitate considering the abundance of coaching and mentoring she receives.
Seigna’s New Way
Seigna sees the future as brighter than before for her, her family and her cultural traditions.
“My business has given me the opportunity to one day get off Centrelink and set up a legacy for my children and their children’s children. I want them to see that their dreams are achievable.”
“I see my business as a stepping stone to reconnecting people from all religions and cultures.
“We are all connected regardless of what religion or culture we identify with. We are as one,” states Seigna.
LaunchME is an initiative of Good Shepherd Microfinance and the South Australian Government that supports innovative small business ideas from people on low incomes in South Australia.