SSI News Blog

Hello and welcome to the first edition of Settlement Services International’s (SSI) Coffs Harbour Community News! My name is Lisa Steward and I’m SSI’s Community Engagement Coordinator for the Coffs Harbour area.

 Our - team’s role is to help in the settlement process of our newly arrived families and assist in opportunities for them to meet and build relationships with members of our community here in Coffs. As a local of Coffs Harbour myself, I know just how amazing and supportive our community can be.

Coffs Harbour Community News will be a monthly opportunity for you to see what projects and initiatives our SSI team has been pursuing with our new families in Coffs, and to keep you in the loop for future partnership opportunities.
August was an incredibly busy month for our team and new families with a number of events and initiatives around Coffs Harbour.

Roja Resh

On August 3 we assisted our new families in recognising Roja Resh, the Yazidi day of remembrance for the day ISIS attacked the Yazidi community in the Sinjar district, Northern Iraq, in 2014.

‘Roja Resh’ directly translates to ‘Black Day’ and we assisted alongside STARTTS and Coffs Harbour Council in creating a space of remembrance for our Yazidi families to gather, while also bringing together members of the wider Coffs community who are interested in learning about the significance of "Roja Resh" and why it should not be forgotten.

We were proud to help our newly settled families establish their voice and share their story with the Coffs Harbour community.

Fusion Festival

This was the first year SSI has had the opportunity to participate in Fusion Festival at the Coffs Harbour Education Campus, and what a day it was! Such an amazing celebration of diversity and culture truly reflected the values of our community and its capacity to welcome those seeking to build a new life in Australia.

The team and I at SSI were excited to use the event to build more relationships in the multicultural sector of Coffs Harbour, while taking the opportunity to invite our newly arrived families and reassure them their culture and heritage will be respected and appreciated in their new home.

Freedom Feast

While it wasn’t held in August I can’t fail to mention the spectacularly successful ‘Freedom Feast’ that was held during Refugee Week in June of 2018.

Freedom Feast is a council initiative and the brain child of Andrew Davis. It’s the major activity in this years celebration of Refugee Week. involving a long table sit down, shared community meal experience with live entertainment, sharing stories and a community performance.

Over 600 people brought a plate to share, making it a community feast of authentic home cooked multicultural food from all over the world.

Our involvement included attending steering group meetings, circulating information and organising and coordinating a children’s activity that contributed to a public art installation at the mall!

New SSI Volunteers

Volunteers are a critical part of our work here at SSI in providing settlement support services for our newly arrived families.

We’ve recently welcomed a number of new volunteers into our Coffs Harbour team, but there’s room for plenty more! Click here to see what volunteer opportunities we currently have available at SSI Coffs Harbour.

CommuniTEA

SSI was excited to bring the community together with our new initiative, CommuniTea! Which we held at the Coffs Harbour Markets on Sunday September 9.

Members of the Coffs Harbour community were able to enjoy tea, food and music alongside our newcomers to help them overcome feelings of separation and develop a positive sense of community in their new home.

The CommuniTEA project is about supporting our newcomers in developing a positive sense of community, to have voice and find home in a new community. We started by creating a space for individuals to build social networks, develop a sense of belonging and to share their skills and stories.

 

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.

Read more ...