“I was a school counsellor, I specialised in emotional disturbance, and when I retired three years ago, I wanted to work with asylum seekers. I saw an article in The Sydney Morning Herald about SSI setting up a soccer team. I thought, what a great idea, giving asylum seekers a sense of purpose and inclusion.
SSI volunteer June Simpson (left) helping at Community Kitchen.
"Since February 2014 I’ve volunteered about one day a week for SSI, helping out at Community Kitchen, with admin, at the Welcome to Sydney sessions, and I just started volunteering at Playtime. That went well because I’m used to working with children. It’s been enormously interesting, meeting people from different cultures. And I’m very impressed with the professionalism of SSI and the commitment of staff members. The gratitude of the clients is huge; they recognise SSI is here for them. I find it very heartening, SSI offers hope and makes a difference.”
Priya Chandra Sayagaran
“I was working in international aid, most recently village work in India, and when I came to Australia I wanted to do some volunteer work. I came across SSI and I thought, well this is good.
SSI volunteer Priya Chandra Sayagaran.
"I help out the SSI Arrivals Team as a Bilingual Guide. I do interpreting, I get people to their accommodation, deliver food, help them make arrangements with Immigration. I also help out at the Community Kitchen. It’s all quite involved but I love it. The smiles you get from the clients are what I love. Making them feel like Australia is a safe, friendly place.”
Desmond Roseboom, a volunteer who’s just become an SSI employee:
“I started volunteering with SSI in August 2014. I finished my degree in Anthropology in 2013 and I specialised in migrant identity issues. So I wanted to get some frontline experience with marginalised migrant groups.
Former volunteer and now SSI Case Manager Desmond Roseboom.
"I volunteered with SSI for two days a month, sometimes up to about two days a week. It was very different to what I was expecting – actually getting some idea of what’s going on for refugees and asylum seekers is very different to what I learnt about in the classroom environment. It’s far more complex. Spending time with the clients, and helping them, was fun.
"I spent a bit of time in SSI’s Auburn office, the Auburn Migrant Resource Centre and the Parramatta office. I’ve done English tutorials for some clients. I’ve spent some time helping at Community Kitchen. The volunteer roles at SSI are diverse. And just last week I was employed at SSI as a case manager.”