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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.

The theme celebrates the courage of refugees and acknowledges the skills and talents that refugees bring to their new home.

Speaking at the launch event SSI Chair Kamalle Dabboussy said that Ms Zia was the embodiment of the positive impact that refugees have on Australia.

“As a case manager with SSI Shabeera demonstrates daily her commitment to her clients seeking asylum and we congratulate her for this wonderful achievement and recognition today.”

Ms Zia said she was humbled by the experience of winning a humanitarian award and appreciated the recognition for her work.

“Memories of my family’s personal refugee experience light my passion to do what I consider to be a grain's size worth in striving for human rights,” Ms Zia said.

Ms Zia and her family fled the civil war in Afghanistan and had a five year journey before arriving in Australia.

“We carried our home on our shoulders in neighbouring countries like nomads, facing discrimination, racism, and persecution.

“I joined SSI to be able to make a small difference, if any, in the lives of those most vulnerable, and I am inspired by the resilience of my client’s in the face of challenges.”

SSI will celebrate the culmination of Refugee Week on World Refugee Day, June 20, with the New Beginnings Refugee Arts & Culture Festival.

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