“I believe that a life lived just for myself is a life wasted, but a life that empowers other people is fulfilled”
That’s the fabulous Yarrie Bangura, founder of Aunty’s Ginger Tonic, talking about her mission to empower other refugee and asylum seekers by providing employment as part of her brand.
From the outset, it’s clear that Aunty’s Ginger Tonic is so much more than its offering of zesty, ginger drinks. Rather, it is a symbol of Yarrie’s past, her future and the power of community.
Originally from Sierra Leone, Yarrie and her family had to flee their home and travel to Australia as refugees when she was just eight years old.
Aunty’s Ginger Tonic was born out of Yarrie’s memories of her African heritage and the special ginger brew that she drank as a child, made by her Aunty and Grandmother and given to the community to ward off colds and encourage digestive health.
She says, “I remember as a child sitting by my grandmother’s side as she peeled the ginger roots that she had grown and harvested. There were huge tubes of peeled roots of ginger. The smell was so fresh and strong. As she boiled the ginger, she would tell me stories of her youth, of the village and of the people long passed. Sometimes she would sing —not normal songs—she would sing to make the ginger stronger. She believed in her magic to make the ginger stronger.”
Those vivid memories, paired with her sheer determination and some pivotal moments throughout her business journey, allowed her to build Aunty’s Ginger Tonic from the ground up into the success that it is today.
“I remember telling my mum I wanted to start up Aunty’s Ginger Tonic. She said I should finish my degree and get a job, and that would be the best way to contribute to Australia. I stopped talking to my mum about it because I knew she had already made up her mind about who she is in Australian society. I have always loved the idea of business to give back to Australia for welcoming me into the country. I was working hard running focus groups to taste the products. I was staying up all throughout the night. I was working on my own to achieve my dream.”
We are so glad she followed her heart and that we get to benefit from her healing tonics! You can read more about Yarrie’s story and purchase her products via her website auntysgingertonic.com.au
Marrickville South, NSW