Media Releases

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

Surfing program benefits most vulnerable

A group of individuals seeking asylum in Australia have overcome social barriers and developed new community connections following the success of the inaugural Surfing Without Borders program run by Settlement Services International.

The program introduced a number of individuals who are seeking asylum to the iconic Australian sport of surfing with regular lessons provided by Let’s Go Surfing, owned and operated by community surfing advocate Brenda Miley.

Read more: Surfing program benefits most vulnerable

New Roots: using smartphones to help refugee men in Australia

An innovative project that includes a smartphone app that comes in multiple languages has been launched to support men who have recently arrived in Australia on humanitarian visas. The new app becomes available as Australia prepares to welcome an additional 12,000 refugees who have been affected by the conflicts in Syria and Iraq.

Read more: New Roots: using smartphones to help refugee men in Australia

Success stories

Refugee turned citizen feels privileged to have a say

Paz Roman smiling to camera.At 17, Paz Roman was nominated as Young Australian of the Year, mostly for her volunteer work. Ironically, she wasn’t an Australian. She came here from Chile as a refugee with her family when she was just a baby, and despite living in Australia since then, she struggled with the idea of becoming a citizen.  

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