Verena is passionate about food and wanted a job where she could follow that passion. But like many women over 45 and Victorians that speak languages other than English, there were hurdles to overcome.

Verena smiling at Free to Feed

She needed training but she also needed to earn a wage. So, thanks to a Box Hill Institute and Jobs Victoria grant program she started training while working at not-for-profit social enterprise Free to Feed. Now she’s getting paid as she builds the skills she needs for her new career.

Her energy and her authentic Colombian street food have made her a bit of a foodie legend with the locals.

“Studying and working this year gives me the opportunity to grow up as a person because I am getting knowledge at the same time that I get experience and improve my English. It means I am getting prepared to join the workforce and Australian community.”

Verena’s daughter Zuaad has decided to make it a family affair, joining her Mum at Free to Feed.

"With this opportunity, we got studies, we got full pay, employment. You are getting experience at the same time as you are being's a dream come true."