SSI News Blog

Refugee Week is a chance to celebrate the positive contributions refugees make to Australian society. As part of the national celebration this month, Settlement Services International (SSI) is involved with a number of free events, including our very own festival.

 New Beginnings: Refugee Arts and Culture Festival

New Beginnings refugee arts and culture festival

The New Beginnings: Refugee Arts and Culture Festival is a chance for people of all ages and backgrounds to come together and celebrate the talents, skills and cultural diversity of people from refugee backgrounds.

New Beginnings will kick off on June 18 at Tumbalong Park in Darling Harbour with a one-day festival featuring an eclectic mix of live entertainment.

The family-friendly event will have a full program of music and dance performances; art and craft displays; workshops for both adults and kids; and food stalls showcasing Vietnamese, African, Middle Eastern and Sri Lankan cuisines. Check out the New Beginnings website for the full line up.

New Beginnings art exhibition

New Beginnings Art Exhibition

For the past 10 weeks, award-winning artist Miriam Cabello has been mentoring a group of artists from the refugee and asylum seeker community to create works exploring the concept of ‘New Beginnings’. This incredibly talented group of artists is made up of former and current SSI clients.

These works will feature in an art exhibition at the Chrissie Cotter Gallery in Camperdown from June 17 to 26, which SSI is hosting as part of the New Beginnings festival thanks to the support of Marrickville Council and Open Marrickville.

You can also enjoy the art exhibition during a special closing event on Sunday June 26 from 3 to 6pm that will include food and live music. Click here for details.

Documentary screening

Rounding out the New Beginnings festivities will be the premiere screening of Faraway… So Close to Homeland on June 23 from 6.30 to 9pm.

The documentary, directed by independent Syrian film and documentary maker Maher Jamous, shows the plight of 10 Syrian refugees who fled in 2013 to neighbouring Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon. Thinking they would be away from their homeland for just a short time, they find themselves isolated and alienated, with no return date in sight.

Click here for details on the event, which is guaranteed to show a side to the refugee crisis rarely seen in the Australian media.

Official Refugee Week launch event

Refugee Week

SSI is working with the Refugee Council of Australia and a number of other organisations to organise the official NSW launch of Refugee Week.

The event will feature inspiring refugee voices; captivating live music and performances; and the 2016 NSW Humanitarian Awards.

The launch will be held on June 17 from 10am to 12pm. RSVPs are essential as seating is limited. Click here for details.

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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