06 Oct 2017News
New initiative helps refugees to build a sense of belonging
Connective Collective is a joint initiative between SSI and White Pages Australia that comprises a pilot program and welcome pack designed to help migrants and refugees to find the services and businesses they need to build their new lives.
Designed by White Pages Australia in consultation with SSI, the packs include flashcards to help new arrivals learn English and a directory introducing the small businesses that have signed up as Connective Collective members, including those with bilingual employees.
Connective Collective was launched in September by the Federal Minister for Small Business, Michael McCormack, at an event supported by Liverpool City Council Australia and Western Sydney MRC.
Addressing the event, SSI General Manager Peter Zographakis said building a sense of belonging in Australia was just as critical to successful settlement as finding housing or enrolling in school.
“The migrant and refugee journey necessarily disrupts established social networks and attachment to place. For those from refugee backgrounds, any sense of belonging comes under threat, affecting connection to family, peers, local community and country of origin,” he said.
“This is why SSI is so pleased to be partnering with White Pages in the Connective Collective pilot in Liverpool, helping new migrants find the services and businesses they need, to make connections, to feel at home.
“That can mean being able to find the fruit and vegetables required for meals they enjoy, being confident there is someone who understands their problems when they visit the doctor, or having a receptive ear while getting their hair cut.”
Mr Zographakis said rebuilding this sense of belonging also had benefits for the wider Australian community as it contributed to community cohesion, economic outcomes and purposeful multiculturalism.