Baptcare grant creates employment opportunities

A Karen* carpet cleaning business has breathed new life into local job prospects with the help of a $12,000 Baptcare Community Engagement Grant.

The MADCOW Carpet Cleaning business began in late 2015 as an initiative aimed at providing education and jobs to Bendigo's local refugee and youth population.

Business Manager, Maree Shay heads the cleaning initiative, which functions out of the Bendigo Baptist Community Care Incorporated. She said the business has been able to provide numerous opportunities for Karen refugees, by helping them gain valuable practical and business skills. Since its inception, MADCOW Cleaning has helped over 40 Karen residents obtain a certificate of cleaning, boosting career opportunities for many.

Maree added as much as the business is helping to provide high quality cleaning services to Bendigo, it is also providing incredible client relationships and boosting the confidence of her staff and their connection to the wider community.

“MADCOW stands for Make A Difference, Change Our World and that is certainly why we do what we do," Maree said.

"We set it up to empower people and the relationships we have seen being formed are wonderful. (The boys and other cleaners) are able to support our clients in a very special way."

Maree said the Baptcare grant provided her with the confidence to invest her time and resources into educating and empowering her staff. Their hard work and fantastic reputation has Maree hoping that she will be able to have one of her hard working men manage the carpet cleaning side of the business.

* Karen people are indigenous to the Thailand-Burma border region in Southeast Asia and are one of the many ethnic groups in Burma. Many have fled their homeland to escape killings and torture by the Burmese military regime. According to the 2011 census figures, there were 282 Karen speakers in Bendigo. In 2015 this had grown to approximately 1000 Karen people living in Bendigo.

Contact: Annemarie Watt

Phone: 0428 063 664