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08 May 2023

Media releases

SSI Allianz scholarship supports 34 refugees to overcome barriers to education in digital world

Allianz Australia and Settlement Services International (SSI) have awarded 34 deserving refugee students with SSI Allianz Refugee Scholarships, providing vital funding to access technology, pursue their education, and obtain local qualification recognition.

Scholarship recipients, SSI staff and Allianz staff at the Sydney ceremony
Scholarship recipients, SSI staff and Allianz staff at the Sydney ceremony

The scholarship supports refugees and people seeking asylum from New South Wales, Victoria, and Queensland to overcome the added financial barriers they experience in secondary school, vocational education, university, skills, and qualifications recognition.

Last Thursday, this year’s recipients, including 23-year-old Hala, gathered to celebrate their achievements at Allianz’s Sydney and Melbourne offices.

Before arriving in Australia, Hala missed out on almost a decade of her studies due to the conflict in Syria. She is now a school captain at Bankstown Senior College and working on weekends to support her mother and siblings.

“It was getting too tiring to do my assignments on my phone,” Hala said. “I had many things to pay for, rent, insurance, food – I had no ability to pay just one dollar for a laptop. So when I got the scholarship, I thanked God every day, because now that I have a laptop, I can do more work, more studies, and more things.”

Hala plans to attend Western Sydney University to study for a Bachelor of Business.

“I want to make my mother proud. She has always supported and looked after me.”

Hala receiving her certiciate from SSI CEO, Violet Roumeliotis, and Allianz Australia Managing Director, Richard Feledy
Hala receiving her certiciate from SSI CEO, Violet Roumeliotis, and Allianz Australia Managing Director, Richard Feledy

Since 2016, the Allianz and SSI partnership has awarded over 280 refugee education scholarships, totaling more than $500,000. This year, scholarships were awarded to 34 people from 17 different cultural backgrounds, including Afghan, Iraqi, Ukrainian, Yemeni, and Persian.

SSI CEO Violet Roumeliotis said the partnership demonstrates Allianz’s genuine care and understanding of how to empower and support newly arrived communities.
“These scholarships reflect our shared fundamental view that everyone has the right to meet their potential and to live the life they want to live. And in fact, as a community, we are all better off when people have the opportunity to do so.

“Refugees and people seeking asylum face several challenges in pursuing their education. In particular, the recent transition to online learning by education institutions and schools has adversely impacted newly arrived students, who may have a lack of access to technology or digital skills. By working with organizations such as Allianz and other community partners, we aim to bridge this gap and offer support to students in their educational pursuits.”

Allianz Australia Managing Director, Richard Feledy said the partnership brings benefit to both the recipients and community.

“At Allianz, our purpose is to help provide a secure future for our customers, employees and the wider community. Access to quality education is a critical step to equip young Australians with the skills that they need to thrive in the workforce and establish rewarding and successful careers.

I am a firm believer in the power and strength of diversity, inclusion and belonging. The more we can bring together people with different experiences, ideas and backgrounds, and create environments where everyone feels safe to contribute, the better the outcomes will be – both for businesses and society as a whole. I am enormously proud of our partnership with SSI and the support that we have given to over 280 young people of refugee backgrounds to achieve independence in Australia.”

The Allianz and SSI partnership has been recognised by the Australian Human Rights Commission, awarded the Australian Human Rights Commission Business Award in 2017. For more information, visit https://www.ssi.org.au/services/newcomers-refugees-and-migrants/refugee-education-scholarships


Media Enquiries:

Jordan wood, Senior Communications Officer. 

M: 0403 082 926 E: jwood@ssi.org.au

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