SSI News Blog

In the spirit of Human Rights Day, The Melody of Humanity, a cross-cultural and multilingual music video, was launched at the Community Refugee Welcome Centre in Callan Park, Lilyfield on December 10.

Two women captured for Human Rights Day.

Community Refugee Welcome Centre Coordinator Moones Mansoubi captured with event attendee and refugee Solmaz Mirzaei.

Production of the eight-minute video fostered social inclusion and participation while providing an opportunity for refugee artists to present their work during the pandemic.

Many iconic Inner West Council locations are featured along with 22 artists – newly arrived refugees, Aboriginal community members and local Inner West musicians – who all bring elements from their culture to the project. See the video here.

Solmaz Mirzaei arrived in Australia from Iran as a refugee two years ago and attended the event. SSI provided her with wrap-around services, including accommodation, and assisted her in settling into her new home. 

“As a woman in Iran, it is difficult, and we decided to come to a country like Australia that respects our human rights. 

“Human rights mean for me a world full of peace, fairness and freedom for all the people and no prejudices in the world.”

Ms Mirzaei said that human rights existed in a world where people are valued as humans and nothing else; not because of race, education, economic background, gender or religion. 

“Unity among all people is very important in the world because there is only one truth and it’s unity that helps us to reach that truth. 

“This video shows us that people can show their belief about human rights through art. Art is the language of unity.”   

Ms Mirzaei said that the support that was provided to her family by the Australian Government’s Humanitarian Settlement Program, delivered by SSI, was extensive. 

“SSI is an organisation that supports people, something that I have experienced in my first two years in Australia.  

“They have supported us in many different areas, including helping us become independent, finding services and also programs that help us be more happy where we can celebrate.” 

The Community Refugee Welcome Centre is a partnership between Inner West Council and Settlement Services International (SSI).

Centre Coordinator Moones Mansoubi said, “The Melody of Humanity project has provided a professional development opportunity for everyone involved, including the artists who actively participated in the creative process of production and who demonstrated their remarkable skills and talents.”

SSI General Manager Service Delivery – Settlement, Yamamah Agha said the project was a reminder that human rights belonged to everyone, and was what bound people together as a community.

“The video provides a vehicle for people to connect and experience culture from diverse perspectives, particularly during a time when many communities are experiencing poor mental health due to the pandemic,” she said.

Refugee and filmmaker Ali Rezvani arrived in Australia in March this year to start a new life. Ms Mansoubi supported him to find opportunities in his field, including connecting him with the Inner West Council, enabling him to use his filmmaking skills to create the project’s video about local refugee experiences.

“The video is a great example of where the skills, motivations and aspirations of diverse human languages come together,” he said.

The Community Refugee Welcome Centre in Callan Park is where refugees and people seeking asylum are welcomed and supported to re-build their lives in their new country while forming meaningful connections with Inner West locals. It was established by the former Leichhardt Council in 2016.

“The Welcome Centre is a great example of how Council is promoting social justice in our own backyard,” said Inner West Mayor Darcy Byrne.

“The Centre makes a practical difference in the lives of people who have escaped war and oppression to make it to Australia and become part of our Inner West community,” he said.

“This beautiful video is uplifting, inclusive and inspiring. I hope people watch it and open their hearts and minds and reflect on why people leave their homes and flee from their countries, and why we must do a better job of welcoming people who have been displaced by injustice,” Mayor Byrne said.

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SSI Volunteer Spotlight: Sue Vile

Sue VileSue Vile was among the first to be inducted into the SSI’s Armidale volunteer program, bringing with her a wealth of experience and existing training gathered from her time in aid work, in Australia and abroad.

A retired school teacher and nurse, Sue has dedicated an enormous amount of her time in recent years on the front line of humanitarian services, helping refugees at many stages of their journey to safety.

 

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