Maryan Aziz came to Australia from Sudan as a six-year- old. She started her Sydney-based business, Ma-aki Soy in 2016, offering beautiful natural soy candles.

“It’s not just a candle, it’s a candle with a message,” Maryan says. ‘Ma-aki’ means ‘I am with you’ in Arabic – words Maryan used to comfort herself when she had the first of her two children and was the only woman she knew with a baby. Knowing other women have experienced the same isolation inspired her business idea.

“I wanted to create a product that could encourage other mums, uplift them and remind them that they are not alone.” She says that she’s passionate about motherhood and through her business, Ma-aki Soy, she wants to give back to mums in all stages of life.

A supportive mothers’ group taught Maryan the value and strength of women forming communities. “Women should have each other’s backs,” she says. Maryan sees her business as bringing women together to create an amazing network. “I hope that Ma-Aki becomes the start of many mum conversations, that it could be the ice breaker that brings women together and breaks the barriers of isolation in many homes.”

She says that being a member of Sister Tribe means holding on to her focus. “Sharing in this journey with my sisters is the icing on the cake.”

Maryan sells her candles at markets, through friends and family and via Facebook.