Media Releases

Arts and refugees meet in inaugural forum

An unprecedented state-wide discussion about refugee-related arts practice will take centre stage at an event that connects practitioners working at the intersection between the arts and refugees.

Held from August 19–20 at Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre (CPAC), the inaugural Arts and Refugees Forum will create a space for artists, community development workers, educators, and arts and humanitarian organisations to share their experiences and discuss various aspects of artistic practice by, with and about refugees.

Read more: Arts and refugees meet in inaugural forum

Celebrating refugee contributions more important than ever

Record-breaking numbers of forcibly displaced people worldwide have increased the importance of this week’s Refugee Week celebrations, according to Settlement Services International (SSI) CEO Violet Roumeliotis.

The annual celebration of the courage and contribution of refugees would be a particularly poignant occasion this year in light of the staggering number of refugees and other forcibly displaced people around the world, she said.

Read more: Celebrating refugee contributions more important than ever

Volunteers make a difference

The generosity of everyday Australians is significantly improving the experiences of refugees and people seeking asylum living in the Australian community, according to a leader from the humanitarian settlement sector.

Speaking at the start of National Volunteer Week, Settlement Services International (SSI) CEO Violet Roumeliotis said the actions of volunteers had a profound effect on the lives of people fleeing war and persecution.

Read more: Volunteers make a difference

Leading cultural performers named in New Beginnings 2016 line up

Leading artists from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds will showcase their talents at NSW’s leading festival celebrating refugee arts and culture.

Confirmed artists for the expanded 2016 New Beginnings: Refugee Arts & Culture Festival will impress audiences with performances and workshops that draw inspiration from the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Australia and more.

Read more: Leading cultural performers named in New Beginnings 2016 line up

New Beginnings: Refugee Arts & Culture Festival ramps up in 2016

NSW’s premier festival celebrating the cultural heritage and artistic talents of people from refugee backgrounds will be bigger than ever in 2016.

Following the stand out success of the inaugural New Beginnings: Refugee Arts & Culture Festival last year, the 2016 program has expanded to feature three separate events across Sydney both during and after Refugee Week.

Read more: New Beginnings: Refugee Arts & Culture Festival ramps up in 2016

Settlement Services International supports Premier’s Harmony Dinner

Settlement Services International (SSI) is proud to sponsor the 2016 Premier’s Harmony Dinner, and support the celebration of cultural diversity in NSW.

SSI is a community-based, not-for-profit humanitarian organisation providing a range of services in the areas of humanitarian settlement, accommodation, asylum seeker assistance, multicultural foster care, disability support and employment services in NSW.

Read more: Settlement Services International supports Premier’s Harmony Dinner

Innovative partnership creates new opportunities for refugees

An innovative partnership between Allianz Australia and Settlement Services International (SSI) will deliver new career opportunities and support for refugees and migrants who have settled in Australia.

Today’s joint announcement by Allianz Australia Managing Director Niran Peiris and SSI CEO Violet Roumeliotis coincides with the first week on the job for five recruits under the partnership employment program. The partnership aims to improve employment and educational opportunities for SSI clients as well as enhancing workforce diversity at Allianz.

Read more: Innovative partnership creates new opportunities for refugees

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

Success stories

Bright future ahead for new Australian Dana Al Samaan

Dana is a young woman from Syria who came to Australia</p><pOriginally from Syria, Dana came to Australia via Iraq in search of safety.

I was born and raised in Damascus, Syria. Syria is the country where I attended school and university for free, where I enjoyed safety and security, where I learned to communicate and respect others even when we have differences in religion, thought, doctrine or ideology,” she said.

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