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Forty-one people from a refugee background, needing financial assistance for their education or attaining local recognition for their qualifications, will get the support they need as part of the Settlement Services International (SSI) and Allianz Australia 2018 Refugee Scholarships.

SSI CEO, Violet Roumeliotis, joined Allianz’s new Managing Director, Richard Feledy, at a scholarship ceremony and multicultural afternoon tea at Allianz Headquarters on Monday April 9 to acknowledge and celebrate the success of the scholarship recipients with their families.

The SSI Allianz Refugee Scholarships were created to minimise the financial barriers experienced by refugees as they participate in the NSW education system.
More than $88,000 — including $50,000 from Allianz — has been allocated to individuals across the education system: secondary school, vocational education and training, university, and skills and qualifications recognition.

One 2018 scholarship recipient, Hilal Tawakal from Auburn, says his dream of attending medical school is now moving forward.

“Since being named one of the recipients of the SSI Allianz Scholarship, my dream is becoming a reality at Western Sydney University Medical School. The SSI Allianz award gives me an opportunity to learn skills that will serve the medical community following graduation.

“Thank you for your generosity. Without scholarship patrons willing to support medical education, students such as myself would be unable to pursue advanced healthcare degrees.

“I am committed to my education and to the healthcare field, and am one step closer to becoming a doctor, thanks to your continued generosity and the SSI Allianz Scholarship.”

The award-winning partnership between Allianz and SSI has been delivering new career and education opportunities for refugees and migrants for two years.

Successful participants in a recent collaboration, the Allianz Ladder — teaching young refugees basic business skills and helping them find a job — will soon progress to Allianz’s

Sustainable Employment Program, which provides refugees with tailored development, career management plans and permanent employment.

“Finding employment is often the primary goal for refugees of working age, but many face barriers caused by major life disruption and not having completed formal education or gaining work experience,” said SSI CEO Violet Roumeliotis.

“SSI is extremely pleased that our partnership with Allianz continues to help new members of our community along education and employment pathways so, like Hilal, they can realise their dreams and make their own special contribution to our diverse society.”

Allianz Australia Managing Director Richard Feledy said: “What a privilege it is to support the Allianz SSI Scholarships, which will give these amazing people access to new and ongoing education opportunities so they can fulfil their career goals. Through our refugee employment programs I have seen first-hand the talent and potential that they bring to the workforce.”

About the SSI Allianz Scholarships

The SSI Allianz scholarships directly support people from refugee backgrounds to achieve independence.

Refugees who come to Australia face many challenges during settlement, such as financial hardship, dealing with experiences of torture and trauma, and family separation; yet Australia is a nation built on immigration.

Australia has a long history of providing safe asylum to refugees, many of whom have gone on to make great civil, social and economic contributions to Australian society.
SSI and Allianz aim to continue that tradition by providing targeted scholarships to those who are the most in need and willing to overcome social and economic challenges.

Success stories

Ania Kebabjian story featured in Marie Claire Fashion Magazine: "I made Australia home"

Ania Kebabjian fled Syria via Lebanon and arrived to Australia in 2016 as a refugeeAnia Kebabjian fled Syria via Lebanon and arrived to Australia in 2016 as a refugee. She admits that starting up a new life and settling in takes time - but 2017 was different, Ania explains to Marie Claire magazine, as she finally feels at home.

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