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Settlement Services International (SSI) is proud to announce the opening of its new Armidale office, which will be a hub providing essential settlement services and fostering independence for Yazidi refugees within the Armidale area.

Barnaby Joyce opens SSI's Armidale office

New England MP Barnaby Joyce flanked by SSI CEO Violet Roumeliotis and Humanitarian Settlement Program Manager Yamamah Agha with other participants at the opening of SSI’s Armidale office.

The office was opened on Thursday, May 17, by New England MP and former deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce, a key figure in establishing Armidale as a regional settlement centre.

Armidale is home to 15 Yazidi families who are at various stages of the settlement process in accordance with the government’s Humanitarian Settlement Program (HSP), which is administered in the region by SSI.

Mr Joyce noted the benefits of welcoming the Yazidi families in to Armidale.

“Armidale has so much to offer families resettling here from overseas, and I’ve been a vocal supporter of this initiative from the beginning,” he said. “A number of families have already made the move here to New England to make a new start and build a safe, stable future which provides them with the same opportunities that all Australian’s enjoy.”

Speaking on behalf of SSI CEO Violet Roumeliotis, HSP Regional Coordinator Helen Larkin praised the Armidale community for the compassion and conviction that encouraged Mr Joyce and the Federal Government to open Armidale as a refugee resettlement area.

She said her colleagues had spoken highly of Armidale’s energised and well-organised civil society organisations.

“SSI knows that effective settlement happens where there is an integrated approach from the service providers and the broader community,” she said. “This is what will ensure that people have a sense of belonging and wellbeing very quickly.”

Since the initial announcement of Yazidi refugees being settled in Armidale, SSI has built and maintained a close relationship with Armidale Council and local community organisations such as Sanctuary Humanitarian Settlement and Reach Out for Refugees, which have rallied in support of the Yazidi refugees and offered their assistance.

SSI is currently in discussion with these and many other local service providers to establish how they can best support the new families.

Success stories

Muhammad Sadiq: How I came to call Australia home

Muhammad Sadiq cooking for people seeking asylum at Community Kitchen.I came to Australia as a refugee in 2009, hoping to find a peaceful place to build a home for my family. Increasing persecution of the Hazara community from which my family and I come meant that our native land, Pakistan, was no longer the safe haven it once had been.

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