Media Releases

 music for refugeesMusicians from any musical tradition or cultural background are invited to join jam sessions with SSI asylum seeker clients at the organisation’s Community Kitchen every fortnight.

The SSI Community Kitchen initiative is part cooking class, part social outing for community-based asylum seekers. The fortnightly Community Kitchen provides a social day out for community-based asylum seekers, many of whom experience social and cultural isolation. Clients are invited to learn how to prepare a healthy and nutritious meal, as well as interact with other community members by jamming, playing a game of soccer, playing cards or chess, and sharing a meal. Each fortnight from 80 to 250 clients attend the Community Kitchen.

The idea of incorporating jam sessions into the Community Kitchen program arose as more and more clients were keen to perform for their friends. A donation of a number of musical instruments through the Music for Refugees project, led by Mr Philip Feinstein, sealed the deal.

Using music as a universal language, the sessions are expected to create an opportunity for skills building, cross-cultural exchange and community sharing with fellow musicians and other CSP clients. Depending on the level of participation and interest by guest musicians and clients, the jam sessions might evolve into a stand-alone activity available at other locations and times.

Each Community Kitchen targets a different cultural group (for example, Persian, Arab or Women and Families) and invitation is extended to relevant established community groups and leaders to attend and connect with those more newly arrived. The Community Kitchen schedule and cultural focus for March and April is as follows:

Wednesday 12th March – Afghan

Wednesday 26th March – Persian (celebrating Nowruz, Persian New Year)

Wednesday 9th April – Arab

Wednesday 23rd April – Rohingya

Participants usually arrive by 11:00am and lunch is served at 1:00pm. The jam sessions will take place around 11:30am-1:00pm. There will also be other activities taking place simultaneously.

We hope musicians from any musical or cultural background are willing to participate in the sessions and engage with SSI asylum seeker clients.

If you are interested in joining one of the jam sessions (or more) or wish to donate some instruments (i.e. guitars and drums), please contact Carolina Triana, Arts & Culture Coordinator, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Settlement Services International (SSI) is a leading not-for-profit organisation providing a range of services in the areas of humanitarian settlement, accommodation, asylum seeker assistance and foster care in NSW. Our vision is to achieve a society that values the diversity of its people and actively provides support to ensure meaningful social and economic participation and to assist individuals and families reach their potential.

SSI self-funds this initiative confident that the Community Kitchen provides not only healthy meals that nourish the body, but the equally important nourishment of the soul that comes with the experience of feeling welcome.

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Media enquiries:

SSI Online Communications Coordinator, Callan Lawrence, 0478 156 491, or 02 8799 6746

SSI Marketing and Communications Manager, Angela Calabrese 0401 284 828

Success stories

Arzhang's Story

Arzhang Janipour posing in a suit.

I am Arzhang Janipour from Iran, and I’m 28. The reason I left Iran was because I had some problems. Of course I am missing my parents my father my mother, my brothers, my sister, my exercises and wrestling, my friends and my job from back in Iran.

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