June has been an incredible month for SSI, our volunteers and our settling families in Armidale, marking Refugee Week, Volunteer Week and many more great events and initiatives.
To start I’d like to recognise the truly inspiring work of our SSI volunteers who have taken the initiative in organising the hugely successful toy drive throughout this month! We’re still receiving offers and donations from over a dozen businesses around Armidale, watch this space in the near future as we’ll be giving a shout-out to all the businesses who have made our toy drive such a success!
The Working Group
June 1st marked the first day of the Working Group. The Working Group provides an avenue for emerging leaders within the newly arrived community to speak and represent themselves or various cohorts in the community regarding issues important to them. SSI works closely with the Working Group to plan and implement strategies to achieve their goals. Women, men and youth are represented at the meetings that take place on a fortnightly basis.
The Working Group is a great avenue for community members and support services to share their initiatives directly with leaders within the Yazidi community to guide their work. This week we will have a representative from St Vincent de Paul to discuss volunteer opportunities. Northern Settlement Services will also attended to discuss funding opportunities for youth.
Collaboration with Sanctuary
June 7th marked the first day of meetings between Sanctuary and SSI. Both of our organisations have a wealth of experience in supporting new arrivals to the community and SSI will work closely with Sanctuary to support our newly arrived families in Armidale. Meetings will take place every fortnight and in the meantime our joint process of working together are still being mapped out, but I’m confident that the collaborative efforts of both organisations will prove a great benefit to our families and the community.
Multicultural Women’s Evening
June 30th will be a celebration of culture through food, dance, traditional costume and music at the UNE Wright Centre Hall. UNE International Students Hub, Northern Settlement Services and SSI are working together to ensure a great night had by women in the Armidale area. An educational piece will also be provided through presentations by the Armidale Women's Homelessness Support Services, to educate and inform women of services available to them and their children. We’re also very fortunate to have Wild Women Band play for us on the night. The purpose of the evening is to assist women in connecting to each other, the community and support services in the Armidale area through a shared love and respect of different cultures.
Council Afternoon Tea
Armidale Regional Council held an afternoon tea on World Refugee Day – June 20th to commemorate the strength, courage, and perseverance of refugees. It was a great turn out by the newly arrived families. We were also lucky to have Muzafar Ali and Khadim Dai, former refugees from Afghanistan and Leads of the recently screened ‘The Staging Post’ feature film, as well as Steve Widders (Member of the Multicultural NSW Advisory Board and Chair of Multicultural New England Regional Advisory Council to the Board) who all attended the afternoon tea. Thank you to Armidale Regional Council for hosting such an amazing event.
The Screening of 'The Staging Post'
As previously mentioned, the screening of ‘The Staging Post’ was presented by SSI and Armidale Regional Council and hosted by the Belgrave Cinema for Refugee Week 2018.
The Staging Post is an Australian feature documentary that was filmed in 2017 and follows the lives of two Afghan Hazara refugees, Muzafar and Khadim.
Stuck in Indonesia after Australia 'stopped the boats' and facing many years in limbo, they built a community from the ground up and started the Cisarua Refugee Learning Centre (CRLC).
It conveys powerful messages about friendship and connection. The film’s key and most powerful message is around the resilience and agency of refugees to generate change and create solutions.
The film was an opportunity to foster a positive narrative in local and regional communities about refugees and resettlement.
Following the screening of the film, Lindsay Woodland from Armidale Regional Council facilitated a Q&A style panel featuring the film's leads Muzafar Ali and Khadim Dai and Armidale Yazidi community member Sarbast Qassim.
Thank you to Armidale Mayor Simon Murray, Aboriginal Elder Hazel Green, Armidale Regional Council, Belgrave Cinema, SSI staff and of course those on the panel- Khadim, Muzafar and Sarbast for a fantastic evening. The feedback has been very positive and appreciated by those who attended.
That’s all for this edition of Sam’s Space, keep an eye out for more announcements from SSI and our community partners!