Photo by Deshani Berhardt (Wild Hardt).

Halima Ahmed | Flemington Sisters


“My name is Halima Ahmed. Home is Eritrea and since 1999 I’ve been living in Australia.

I like everything about Australia especially the education and it’s a beautiful country. I have my family here so it’s good for me. I’m a very busy woman, I have five grown up children and two grandchildren. I’m working now with Mum’s Kitchen cooking and also as a cleaner at the child care centre. I have lots of nice and friends and also look after my mother.

For the Shelter 2 project, I’ve been able to share with other African women. It’s been especially a good opportunity for mum’s who work hard at home to tell our stories. Often we don’t get the chance to tell our stories, and no one asks us and often no one listens, but every mother has a story.

The hard lockdown, it was very hard for us and maybe they did it too quickly and we didn’t have time to prepare. But it was important for our health and to protect us because we live very close to each other here in the flats, using the same lifts, using the same laundry as other families. We also have a lot of old people and vulnerable people in our community here so it was important that we protect each other.”

Conversations with Halima Ahmed

Sound design and editing by POOKIE.

“We, Huida Omer, Leila Ali, Halima Ahmed, Emebet Asfaw, Ruth Eyakem, Samira Musa, Awatif Taha and Sara Zakaria are a group of women from different African backgrounds living in the high rise in Flemington and North Melbourne. Food, culture and friendships are so important to us. These things nourish us, keep us connected and keep us confident and strong in who we are.

We loved being together and sharing our recipes and stories for MAV’s Shelter 2 project in 2021. Each of us chose a favourite recipe that has been passed on down the generations in our families. We cooked, we ate, we talked over a weekend with the MAV creative team and now we would like to share with you.

We’d like you to know that participating in this project was a very new experience for us and speaking to people outside of our community about our lives, was a big step. We were happy to share our stories and recipes but most of us felt shy to have our faces photographed or filmed for the project, except for our sister Ruth Eyakem. Maybe next project we will be more confident to show our faces!

Happy cooking and eating!”

Shelter 2 is proudly supported by VicHealth, Creative Victoria, City of Melbourne and Australia Council for the Arts.

Lead Artist Jamie Lewis
Sound Design + Editing POOKIE.
Photography + Graphic Design Deshani Berhardt
Marketing, Video + Web Production Sneha Varma
Creative Producer Anita Larkin

Image credit: All above photos by Deshani Berhardt (Wild Hardt).