Media Releases

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

New arrivals find a "lifetime" sport

Tony Podesta believes tennis is a ‘lifetime’ sport. So who better to teach tennis to then recently arrived refugees settling into their new lives in Australia?

A group of 8 to 12 children and adults has participated in a Tennis Australia Multicultural Tennis Program for Refugees at the Tony Podesta School of Tennis in Fairfield once a week for the past 10 weeks.

Read more: New arrivals find a "lifetime" sport

Multicultural group enriches Sydney music

Asylum seekers may not be able to bring many material possessions with them when seeking safety in Australia, but many of them bring impressive skills. To give their talents an outlet, and so more people can enjopy them, Settlement Services International (SSI) an a Sydney music organisation have facilitated opportunities for a group of refugee and asylum seeker musicians from Iran and Burma. 

Read more: Multicultural group enriches Sydney music

Foster carers help maintain cultural connections

The importance of maintaining a child’s connection to their cultural heritage, language and religion while in foster care should not be underestimated.

During NSW Foster Care week, September 14-21, Manager of Multicultural Foster Care Service (MFCS) Mr Ghassan Noujaim, hopes to highlight the important work of the services’ foster carers in helping maintain cultural connections.

“Our foster carers are incredible in their dedication to, and support for, keeping cultural links for their foster children,” said Mr Noujaim.

Read more: Foster carers help maintain cultural connections

Champion team united on the soccer field

Most of them had never played soccer on grass fields with marked lines before, but in their first season in Australia this special team proved themselves champions. After a thrilling 2-1 win, the Newington Gunners Soccer Club’s team of refugees and asylum seekers won its Grand Final on Saturday, September 13.

The players had come from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Sierra Leone, Turkey, Nepal and Tajikistan to enjoy safer, better lives in Australia. Many of them are supported by not-for-profit organisation Settlement Services International’s (SSI) humanitarian settlement programs. SSI CEO Violet Roumeliotis said watching them play this season had been inspiring.

Read more: Champion team united on the soccer field

Champions on and off the field

They have escaped crises and horrors around the world to find some peace of mind on soccer fields in western Sydney. Now, seven months after a generous community campaign helped them join a Sydney soccer club, this team of refugees and asylum seekers will challenge for a championship.

Read more: Champions on and off the field

Youths seeking refuge offered gifts for fun

 

Les MurrayYoung people seeking asylum in Australia are in need of many essential items but the gift of free sports shoes and boots will provide something vital for all youth – fun. On August 30, 50 young people living in Sydney on bridging visas will get that gift when the Asylum Sneakers campaign promoted by Welcome to Australia and soccer commentator Les Murray hits town.

Leila Druery from the non-profit organisation Welcome to Australia said the campaign idea grew from seeing the affect sport could have. “Asylum Sneakers came about after seeing the incredibly positive impact of sport on young asylum seeker children in detention centres and in the community,” she said. “Sadly, many children’s participation in sport is limited by not being able to afford shoes and sports equipment.”

Settlement Services International (SSI) is a leading not-for-profit organisation that provides a range of services in the areas of humanitarian settlement, asylum seeker assistance, accommodation, foster care and disability support in NSW. The young recipients are all from SSI’s Community Support program.

Read more: Youths seeking refuge offered gifts for fun

Double loss felt by homeless refugee youth

Broken Time poster

A short film, which premiere’s today, explores the real life experience of homelessness faced by refugee youth living without their families in Sydney.

‘Broken Time’ is the story of Ali, an Unaccompanied Humanitarian Minor (UHM), who falls back on his survival instinct when he finds himself homeless on the streets of Sydney.

Developed by Settlement Services International (SSI), which provides services to humanitarian entrants, with funding from The Australia Council for the Arts, the film will be launches today in Bankstown, to coincide with International Youth Day.

Dilber Hussain played the role of Ali, and was all too familiar with the experience of his character in the film.

Dilber is from Pakistan and arrived in Australia in 2012 as a UHM at the tender age of 17. When his circumstances rapidly deteriorated and he was faced with homelessness, Dilber said he was frightened.

Read more: Double loss felt by homeless refugee youth