Media Releases

Asylum seekers may not be able to bring many material possessions with them when seeking safety in Australia, but many of them bring impressive skills. To give their talents an outlet, and so more people can enjopy them, Settlement Services International (SSI) an a Sydney music organisation have facilitated opportunities for a group of refugee and asylum seeker musicians from Iran and Burma. 

SSI music

Three humanitarian entrants from Iran, and one from Burma, met recently when they took part in a series of skills development workshops arranged by SSI and the Cultural Performing Arts Network (CPAN) as part of the SSI Arts and Culture Program.

The workshops were run by artistic director of Sydney Sacred Music Festival, Richard Petkovic, specifically for artists who are recently-arrived refugees or people seeking refugee protection in Australia.

On Saturday the group performed at Parramatta’s Riverside Theatre as part of the Sydney Sacred Music Festival. They do not yet have a name, but their performance has been called ‘Unity in Music: a showcase of talent in exile’.

The group’s violinist, Seyed Salar Hosseini, originally from Iran, has made such a good impression that he has been invited to perform with the World Music Chamber Orchestra, which is made up of 11 musicians from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

It goes to show how beneficial mentorship and support from established musicians in Australia can be
for these people who would otherwise have limited connections to, and knowledge of, this country’s
music scenes.

Another client being supported by SSI, Mohammad Yukos Hakimi, attended the CPAN workshops to develop his presentation and production skills in singing while playing the dambura, a popular string instrument in Afghanistan where he originated from.

He also made his debut performance, playing solo at the music festival on Saturday, and will perform again this Wednesday (September 10), alongside the Unity in Music group, at SSI’s fortnightly Community Kitchen lunch at Auburn Centre for Community.

Settlement Services International (SSI) is a leading not-for-profit organisation that provides a range of services in the areas of humanitarian settlement, accommodation, asylum seeker assistance, foster care and disability support 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 in reaching their potential.

Monday September 15, 2014  

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For media enquiries please contact:

SSI Marketing & Communications Officer, Alice Ellis: 0401 473 406

Success stories

Hameed's Story

Hameed studying with a tutor.

My name is Hameed Cina. My life in Australia today is the life of a normal citizen, ordinary by any standard. I’m married, I have two young daughters and I have a good job that I love. I also volunteer a lot of my free time for my community. But the way in which I arrived at this point in my life was definitely not ordinary.

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