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SSI case manager and humanitarian award winner, Shabeera Zia, had shown how each of us could make an impact on the lives of refugees, CEO Violet Roumeliotis said today.

Ms Zia was presented with the STARTTS Youth Humanitarian award at the Refugee Week launch in Wollongong on June 12.

Violet Roumeliotis
SSI CEO Violet Roumeliotis.

Ms Roumeliotis said that at the start of Refugee Week 2015, and as we approach World Refugee Day on June 20, we must remember the individuals and families caught up in events beyond their control which has forced them to flee their homes.

“These are people like you and me, leading ordinary lives, until something extraordinary happened," Ms Roumeliotis said. "The prevalence of war, civil conflict, and political upheaval in many parts of the world is creating a growing population of displaced people and refugees.

“Many thousands of refugees have settled successfully in Australia since the humanitarian settlement program was introduced. And because many more will continue to come out of need, not choice, we as a humanitarian settlement organisation and all members of the Australian community must do our best to support these new arrivals and make them feel welcome in a show of common humanity."

This year’s theme for Refugee Week 2015 - ‘With courage let us all combine’ - taken from the second verse of Australia’s national anthem, celebrates the courage of refugees and acknowledges the skills and talents that refugees bring to their new home.

“In winning this important award Shabeera has been recognised for making a difference to the lives of refugees both as a case manager and in her community, something we should all aspire to do in our own way,” Ms Roumeliotis added.

Speaking at the launch event SSI Chair Kamalle Dabboussy said that Ms Zia was the embodiment of the positive impact that refugees have on Australia.

“As a case manager with SSI Shabeera demonstrates daily her commitment to her clients seeking asylum and we congratulate her for this wonderful achievement and recognition today.”

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