To kick start National Youth Week, SSI’s Youth Committee held a Youth Gala social day out for refugees and asylum seekers aged 15 to 25.
Young people who had come to Australia from Iraq, Syria, South Sudan, Afghanistan and Iraq came together at Auburn Centre for Community to meet and socialise, around the much-loved Australian tradition of a barbecue.
Craig Laundy, MP, Federal Member for Reid, met some of the recent arrivals at the event and joined them in kicking a soccer ball and playing chess.
“We celebrate Youth Week right across Australia, but in this area [Auburn], it’s about multicultural youth, migrant youth, refugee youth, asylum seeker youth,” he said at the event.
“We need to give you opportunity. Because I believe, like everyone else here supporting you, that you are great Australians in waiting. Have a great day of fellowship, enjoy each other’s company, and share your stories.”
Two of the guests, Anisa, 17, and her brother Arsalan, 23, were siblings from Iran who arrived in Australia just two weeks prior, with their parents after being granted permanent protection visas.
They were both grateful for the chance to meet new people and have some fun. “This morning I woke up and thought, ‘Wow, I am isolated’. So having something to do, being at this event is cool,” said Arsalan.
The young guests were entertained by the band Kids of Leo, DJ Reza, guitarist Daniel Hopkins (who is also an SSI case manager), and a drumming workshop led by Dor Akech Achiek. Mr Achiek is also Coordinator of Youth Collective, which is an initiative of SSI and Migrant Resource Centres that aims to create a representative voice for multicultural young people of NSW.
Special thanks goes to Musa from Auburn Family Butchery for donating the food for the barbecue and Auburn Community Youth Café for the morning tea.