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15 Oct 2021

Media releases

Newcastle gives warm welcome to Afghan arrivals

Settlement Services International (SSI) and Northern Settlement Services (NSS) thank the Newcastle community for the generous donations to Afghan arrivals in the region over the past fortnight.

Families are now equipped to purchase food and clothing with cards redeemable at supermarkets and retail chain stores, thanks to tremendous efforts by Uniting Churches in Adamstown and New Lambton for driving the appeal.

Afghan refugee and former coach of the Afghan women’s football team, Khorsand Yousofzai, said he was looking forward to using the gift vouchers.

“Many thanks to the Newcastle community for your generous donations,” he said.

“I’m really looking forward to buying some much-needed essential items and start my new life here in Australia.”

SSI Humanitarian Settlement Program regional coordinator for Newcastle and Hunter, Helen Larkin, said that the donations had met critical needs for the newly-arrived Afghan refugees. Future donations will go towards long-term needs, such as tailored supports.

“Thanks to the community’s warm welcome and gift vouchers, immediate needs have been met,” she said.

“We’re now focused on supporting Afghan arrivals to move forward on their settlement journey and will broaden the scope to include other refugee cohorts in Newcastle.”

NSS CEO Sharon Daishe said that future donations are welcomed and would be directed towards wider goals through various activities determined by NSS and SSI.

“We’ll be focused on long-term outcomes including access to education, boosting digital literacy, programs for women and girls, sporting, swimming and wellbeing programs, and social connection opportunities.”

SSI continues to provide settlement services and case management support to refugees and humanitarian entrants in NSW, including Afghan arrivals, under the Australian Federal Government’s Humanitarian Settlement Program (HSP) on arrival, in hotel quarantine, and for up to 18 months in the community.

NSS continues to provide settlement services under the Federal Government’s Settlement Engagement Transition Support (SETS) program for up to five years to improve social participation, economic wellbeing, independence, personal wellbeing and community connectedness.

NSS also provides a range of other services for multicultural families, youth and the elderly. With Australian international borders due to open, thousands of refugees offshore with Australian humanitarian visas are waiting to come to safety in Australia.

SSI and NSS anticipate welcoming and supporting more refugees to settle in Australian communities, including Newcastle, in 2022 and beyond.

To continue supporting local Afghan arrivals and other refugees in Newcastle, visit the NSS Refugee Support Appeal page here to donate or become an SSI volunteer here.

Media enquiries: SSI Senior Communications Officer Rebeka Selmeczki; 0468 998 300

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