Photo by Deshani Berhardt (Wild Hardt).

Huida Omer | Flemington Sisters


“My name is Huida Omer. Home is in Sudan and for the past 20 years I’ve made Australia home. Australia is a good country for education and health and good for living. You can find good jobs as long as you have a qualification.

The main thing that keeps me busy is my 3 children, I have 3 girls. In 2018 I was diagnosed with breast cancer and spent a year in intensive treatment. Since then I have to rest a lot but it’s important for me to stay connected with my friends and that’s why I’ve joined the Shelter 2 project.

The hard lockdown, at first I felt sad and it felt unfair that we were the only ones being locked down like this in Melbourne. But later when I realized that there were some families here in the flats with COVID, I was glad that we were locked down like this. We all share the same facilities and live close together and I was worried because my own immune system and one of my daughter’s immune system is not 100%. We stayed home for 5 days and spent the time watching the news and finding out more about what’s happening and understanding the pandemic. There were people helping us and bringing food so it was okay in the end.”

Conversations with Huida Omer

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).