SSI News Blog

A belated Mother’s Day was celebrated by about 60 mothers and 20 children from refugee backgrounds at Old Government House, Parramatta on Tuesday May 12.

The women and their children are supported by SSI's Humanitarian Settlement programs. The ‘high tea’ event was a get-together for women in similar situations to socialise, while their children were entertained by face painting, games and craft activities.

Mother's DayAtefah Hekmat with the art she created at the SSI Mother's Day event.

Atefah Hekmat painted a beautiful portrait of a mother and baby during the lunch, which was later decorated with messages of courage and love.

Ms Hekmat, who has enjoyed oil painting for 15 years, said that women were beautiful and amazing creatures that give life to other beautiful creatures and words are not enough to describe this beauty.

Ms Hekmat arrived in Australia two years ago from Iran. She spent the first six months alone in a house in Nelson Bay, where she painted and healed herself of the traumatic experiences that led her to flee Iran and seek asylum in Australia.

“Painting is my doctor,” said Ms Hekmat.

“It helps with stress and worry and it is something I love doing.”

Mother's DaySSI Humanitarian Settlement Services, Service Delivery Manager Yamamah Agha.

SSI Humanitarian Settlement Services, Service Delivery Manager Yamamah Agha acknowledged the long and difficult journeys many of the women had taken from their home countries and the challenges of parenting in a new country and culture.

“Your children go to Australian schools, make Australian friends, become Australian kids, and may adjust to the new way of life more quickly than you,” Ms Agha said.

“You made a move to a foreign place to keep your children safe and provide them with opportunities, so no matter where you are in the world, the role of a mother is always the same; to be there for your children, their motherland.”

Food, music, dance, and happy children made for a wonderful Mother’s Day event.

See more of Atefah’s work at the New Beginnings refugee arts and culture festival on June 20 at

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