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30 Sep 2022


From SSI client to SSI employee – refugee helps others

Arriving in Australia as a refugee last year, Hamid Ahmad Sarwary knew firsthand how hard it can be to settle into a new country.

 Hamid Ahmad Sarwary at his new role within SSI’s Refugee Employment Support Program.

That’s because he had worked for the United Nations for 8 years, helping Afghans from all over the world settle back into Afghanistan.

That’s because he had worked for the United Nations for 8 years, helping Afghans from all over the world settle back into Afghanistan. 

However, he and his wife were soon in need of assistance when the Taliban took over the country.  Unable to get out via a chaotic airport, he made his way to Pakistan and eventually to Australia on a humanitarian visa. 

Hamid was grateful to be met at the airport by SSI staff, who gave him information about the country before taking he, his wife and others to temporary accommodation, providing them with basic items of food and arranging for Medicare and Centrelink. 

‘One day I approached my case manager and said, I don’t feel I need the [settlement] support of SSI anymore, but if an opportunity to help others becomes available, I’m interested,’ he said. 

Hamid was already putting his skills to good use, assisting other refugees in his western Sydney neighbourhood by taking them to the station, helping them navigate buses and shopping trips and making their appointments. 

Later, Hamid was referred to the Refugee Employment Support Program which works one-on-one with new arrivals to understand their skills and ambitions and help them into work. 

While helping Hamid get recognition for his three degrees: a Masters Degree in Business Administration, a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics and a Bachelor’s Degree in Art and Photography, a job for a bilingual guide became available. 

‘My case worker Sameh called me and we worked on a CV, he helped me with how to do interviews and how to dress,’ Hamid said. 

He got the job. 

‘SSI is really doing something amazing for people,’ said Hamid.  ‘Their people help you from the heart to give you a better life. Even after no longer being a client and becoming a staff member, they are still so very supportive of me.’ 

RESP is an initiative of the NSW Government that addresses the challenges experienced by refugees and people seeking asylum in finding suitable and skilled employment opportunities. 

For more information about the program visit our website. 



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