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An innovative not-for-profit organisation has today launched in Coffs Harbour, where it will support newly arrived refugees as they begin their lives in Australia.

The federal government has selected Settlement Services International (SSI) as the Coffs Harbour provider of the new Humanitarian Settlement Program (HSP), which supports refugees from the moment they arrive at the airport until they are established in the community.

SSI is a not-for-profit that, through a variety of programs and self-funded initiatives, supports newcomers and other vulnerable Australians to prosper. Operating with the approach of a social business, SSI’s innovation, out-of-the-box thinking and start-up mentality have been recognised with multiple awards, including last week when SSI CEO Violet Roumeliotis was named 2017 Telstra Business Woman of the Year.

SSI’s Coffs Harbour office, which marks the organisation’s entry into the region, was launched today by Federal Member for Cowper Luke Hartsuyker MP.

“My father came to Australia at 17 in 1951 and at that time there were virtually no settlement services whatsoever, so I am more than mindful of the importance of settlement services in allowing people to make an easier transition into life in a new country,” said Mr Hartsuyker.

SSI HSP Manager, Yamamah Agha, said the organisation was committed to partnering with the local community and services to support refugees through the early days of life in Australia.

“At SSI, we recognise the critical role the community plays in successful settlement. Community members help new arrivals to feel welcome in Australia and to build the sense of belonging that becomes a foundation for their new lives here,” she said.

“Community support can take many forms. It might be volunteering, offering a friendly smile at the supermarket or holding an event to welcome new arrivals. Only by working in partnership can we hope to support refugees to reach their full potential in Australia.”

SSI has set up shop at 2/126 West High St, Coffs Harbour. To contact the local office or find out about partnership and volunteering opportunities, visit www.ssi.org.au.

About SSI: 

Settlement Services International is a not-for-profit organisation providing a range of services in the areas of refugee settlement, migrant support services, asylum seeker assistance, housing, multicultural foster care, disability support, employment services and youth support in NSW.


Media enquiries:

SSI Communications Coordinator Hannah Gartrell 0488 680 287

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