Media Releases

Renowned world music orchestra to showcase refugee talent at New Beginnings

Renowned performers from one of Sydney’s leading world music groups will showcase the talents of multicultural artists and help to shift negative perceptions about multiculturalism in Australia at NSW’s leading festival celebrating refugee arts and culture.

Read more: Renowned world music orchestra to showcase refugee talent at New Beginnings

Volunteers make a difference

The generosity of everyday Australians is significantly improving the experiences of refugees and people seeking asylum living in the Australian community, according to a leader from the humanitarian settlement sector.

Speaking at the start of National Volunteer Week, Settlement Services International (SSI) CEO Violet Roumeliotis said the actions of volunteers had a profound effect on the lives of people fleeing war and persecution.

Read more: Volunteers make a difference

Leading cultural performers named in New Beginnings 2016 line up

Leading artists from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds will showcase their talents at NSW’s leading festival celebrating refugee arts and culture.

Confirmed artists for the expanded 2016 New Beginnings: Refugee Arts & Culture Festival will impress audiences with performances and workshops that draw inspiration from the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Australia and more.

Read more: Leading cultural performers named in New Beginnings 2016 line up

New Beginnings: Refugee Arts & Culture Festival ramps up in 2016

NSW’s premier festival celebrating the cultural heritage and artistic talents of people from refugee backgrounds will be bigger than ever in 2016.

Following the stand out success of the inaugural New Beginnings: Refugee Arts & Culture Festival last year, the 2016 program has expanded to feature three separate events across Sydney both during and after Refugee Week.

Read more: New Beginnings: Refugee Arts & Culture Festival ramps up in 2016

Settlement Services International supports Premier’s Harmony Dinner

Settlement Services International (SSI) is proud to sponsor the 2016 Premier’s Harmony Dinner, and support the celebration of cultural diversity in NSW.

SSI is a community-based, not-for-profit humanitarian organisation providing a range of services in the areas of humanitarian settlement, accommodation, asylum seeker assistance, multicultural foster care, disability support and employment services in NSW.

Read more: Settlement Services International supports Premier’s Harmony Dinner

Innovative partnership creates new opportunities for refugees

An innovative partnership between Allianz Australia and Settlement Services International (SSI) will deliver new career opportunities and support for refugees and migrants who have settled in Australia.

Today’s joint announcement by Allianz Australia Managing Director Niran Peiris and SSI CEO Violet Roumeliotis coincides with the first week on the job for five recruits under the partnership employment program. The partnership aims to improve employment and educational opportunities for SSI clients as well as enhancing workforce diversity at Allianz.

Read more: Innovative partnership creates new opportunities for refugees

CoAct/SSI Work for the Dole participants confident of their job prospects

Before taking part in the Staples Bag SSI Work for the Dole program, Campsie resident Marcel Tawbeh would never have considered working in retail.

“I was shy and lacked confidence, and thought I would only be able to work in the background,” Mr Tawbeh said.

Read more: CoAct/SSI Work for the Dole participants confident of their job prospects

SSI welcomes early start to travel concessions for asylum seekers

Settlement Services International has welcomed the NSW Government’s decision to allow asylum seekers in NSW to apply for Opal Card travel concessions earlier than planned, with 15,000 asylum seekers living in NSW now able to apply for the travel benefit.

The travel concession, which was first scheduled to become available to eligible asylum seekers from January 1, allows people seeking asylum to access the same $2.50 all day travel benefit as other NSW concession cardholders.

Read more: SSI welcomes early start to travel concessions for asylum seekers

Surfing program benefits most vulnerable

A group of individuals seeking asylum in Australia have overcome social barriers and developed new community connections following the success of the inaugural Surfing Without Borders program run by Settlement Services International.

The program introduced a number of individuals who are seeking asylum to the iconic Australian sport of surfing with regular lessons provided by Let’s Go Surfing, owned and operated by community surfing advocate Brenda Miley.

Read more: Surfing program benefits most vulnerable

New Roots: using smartphones to help refugee men in Australia

An innovative project that includes a smartphone app that comes in multiple languages has been launched to support men who have recently arrived in Australia on humanitarian visas. The new app becomes available as Australia prepares to welcome an additional 12,000 refugees who have been affected by the conflicts in Syria and Iraq.

Read more: New Roots: using smartphones to help refugee men in Australia

SSI AGM – first under new company structure

Settlement Services International today held its first Annual General Meeting under the new structure of Company Limited by Guarantee. Another first for the organisation, the AGM was held at its recently opened office in Bankstown.

Read more: SSI AGM – first under new company structure

Report reveals strong entrepreneurial potential of refugees

A report released today found that, with the right support, Australia’s refugees have significant entrepreneurial potential and the ability to contribute to the economy.

The report, which looked at the outcomes of the Ignite Small Business Start-ups initiative operated by humanitarian settlement organisation Settlement Services International (SSI), was prepared by Professor Jock Collins of UTS Business School and was launched by the Executive Director of the Sydney Business Chamber, the Hon. Patricia Forsythe.

Read more: Report reveals strong entrepreneurial potential of refugees

SSI and its partners welcome Federal Government’s announcement of increased refugee intake and financial aid

Settlement organisations in NSW welcome the Federal Government’s announcement today that an additional 12,000 refugees from Syria will be settled in Australia and that $44 million in additional financial aid will be provided to help deal with the crisis.

Read more: SSI and its partners welcome Federal Government’s announcement of increased refugee intake and...

SCOA welcomes the Government’s announcement to settle an additional 12,000 Syrian refugees to address the growing global humanitarian crisis

The Settlement Council of Australia* (SCOA) welcomes the Government’s announcement to increase Australia’s humanitarian intake by an additional 12,000 permanent places for Syrian and Iraqi refugees.

Read more: SCOA welcomes the Government’s announcement to settle an additional 12,000 Syrian refugees to...

SCOA supports the call to urgently increase refugee resettlement numbers with the settlement sector poised to support

The Settlement Council of Australia* (SCOA) supports the call for an urgent action to increase the refugee resettlement numbers in Australia in response to the growing global humanitarian crisis with millions displaced from their homes fleeing the conflict in Syria.

The settlement sector in Australia are world leaders in assisting and welcoming newly arrived refugees and are well positioned to support an increase in Australia’s refugee intake.

Read more: SCOA supports the call to urgently increase refugee resettlement numbers with the settlement...

New SSI Foundation announces education scholarships

Settlement Services International (SSI) today announced education scholarships worth $60,000 as part of the launch of the new SSI Foundation.

Formerly known as the Connect Australia Foundation, the SSI Foundation introduces more categories of support and increased amounts distributed.

Read more: New SSI Foundation announces education scholarships

Refugee Week reminder of refugees’ courage

SSI case manager and humanitarian award winner, Shabeera Zia, had shown how each of us could make an impact on the lives of refugees, CEO Violet Roumeliotis said today.

Ms Zia was presented with the STARTTS Youth Humanitarian award at the Refugee Week launch in Wollongong on June 12.

Read more: Refugee Week reminder of refugees’ courage

Refugee Week award for SSI case manager

SSI case manager Shabeera Zia has been awarded the STARTTS Youth Humanitarian award at the Refugee Week launch event in Wollongong today, June 12.

The theme for Refugee Week 2015 is ‘With courage let us all combine’, taken from the second verse of Australia’s national anthem.

Read more: Refugee Week award for SSI case manager

Asylum seekers and communities to benefit from safe haven visas

Settlement Services International (SSI), a leading not-for-profit humanitarian settlement organisation, has welcomed as significant and positive the announcement by the NSW State Government to sign up to the Federal Safe Haven Enterprise Scheme.

Read more: Asylum seekers and communities to benefit from safe haven visas

Multicultural Foster Care Service acknowledged

SSI staff with Minister for Family and Community Services Gabrielle Upton (centre).

“As I walked up the stairs I saw her joyfully dancing with the three children to African music that connected them so authentically to their culture – it was beautiful.” Tari, SSI caseworker.

Settlement Services International (SSI) was today recognised for the innovation and positive impact of its Multicultural Foster Care Service on children and families in out-of-home care.

Read more: Multicultural Foster Care Service acknowledged

Free community-based legal help reaches new arrivals

A partnership between Legal Aid NSW and settlement services provider Settlement Services International (SSI) has been effective in providing free legal assistance to recent arrivals and migrants, especially in Sydney’s west, an independent review has found.

Almost 2,200 services were provided to clients in the first year of the project and the partners today signed an undertaking to continue the successful collaboration.

Read more: Free community-based legal help reaches new arrivals

Young refugees share their stories

Young refugees share their stories

The lives and settlement experiences of young refugees will be explored at the fourth and final Speakers’ Series event for 2014 hosted by Settlement Services International (SSI).

Titled The strength of youth: young people and their refugee experiences, the event on Tuesday, November 11, will begin with three young people from refugee backgrounds sharing their stories.

Read more: Young refugees share their stories

Seeking asylum and playing cricket

Sport is renowned for bringing people from all over the world together, and now cricket has united two seemingly disparate groups of men. Refugees and people seeking asylum have joined members of Knox Grammar School’s ‘Old Boys’ association to hone their bat and ball skills together in the lead up to cricket season.  

The weekly pre-season cricket clinics at Auburn District Cricket Club on Saturdays have resulted in a mutually beneficial partnership for the 18 or so refugees and asylum seekers, who are clients of SSI, and members of the Old Knox Grammarians’ Association.

Read more: Seeking asylum and playing cricket

One person's food, is another's future

Yoga Raja has a talent for “food carving” that is finding appreciative audiences at Sydney weddings and functions.

Yoga, 32, is an artist and food – watermelons, carrots and white radish – is his medium. From a watermelon he can carve a life-like human portrait, and from carrots and radish he sculpts bouquets of flowers that people approach to smell as if real.

Read more: One person's food, is another's future