SSI News Blog

SSI gratefully accepted a generous donation of toys, blankets and food items for refugee and asylum seeker families from ‘Women Empowering Refugee Women’, a joint initiative of Knox Grammar and Ravenswood School for Girls , who kindly delivered donations to the SSI Parramatta office yesterday.

  L-R: Catherine Sell, Judi Bastinwagner, Athena Rogers & Kiki Paul

A key organiser of the fundraiser, Judi Bastinwagner, said: “Both the school, and us as parents, are trying to teach our children that the main aim in life is to help others. We believe that if our children see us doing it rather than just saying it, they will understand that helping others is a part of life.”

SSI Special Projects Officer Catherine Sell said that the majority of families who are released from detention do not have many material possessions, let alone toys for their children to play with.

“We are overwhelmed by the generosity of support of these women, and thanks to this fundraiser, refugee kids who are clients of SSI will be able to enjoy a fundamental aspect of childhood, just like any other child,” Ms Sell said.

A few weeks ago, the Women Empowering Refugee Women group put a call out via social media and email, encouraging students and parents at Knox Grammar and Ravenswood to donate toys, blankets and food. “We had such a great response and it was so successful that we are keen to make it a regular event,” added Athena Rogers, another member of the group.

The partnership between Women Empowering Refugee Women and SSI has grown over the last eight months, with members of the group volunteering at SSI initiatives such as Community Kitchen and Playtime, as well as successfully fundraising blankets, food, and other much-needed products for people in need.

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.

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