Settlement Services International (SSI) has joined forces with the Women Empowering Refugee Women (WERW) volunteer group to organise a social event at Sydney’s Opera House for a number of SSI clients and their families.
SSI clients seeking asylum, with SSI staff and volunteers.
More than a dozen individuals from SSI’s Status Resolution Support Services (SRSS) program, which provides assistance to asylum seekers living in the community, were joined by five WERW volunteers for an afternoon outing by the harbour on Tuesday, August 11, starting with a showing of the ‘Tubby the Tuba’ stage production.
Tickets were provided courtesy of the Sydney Opera House’s Kids at the House program which aims to encourage children to engage in the arts with interactive activities and children’s theatre performances.
The event saw 10 children up to five years of age receive an introduction to orchestral music before enjoying a picnic by the harbour, with lunch provided courtesy of WERW volunteers. This is one of several events held jointly by SSI and WERW for the benefit of asylum seeker clients.
SSI CEO Violet Roumeliotis said the organisation was extremely grateful to the volunteers of WERW who had shown such commitment to supporting women seeking asylum and their families.
SRSS client Fereshteh said SSI’s community engagement program had become a large part of her day-to-day life, with initiatives such as Community Kitchen and Playtime now forming a regular part of her weekly schedule.
“They are such great ways to meet people and my son always has a great time,” she said.
SSI client Souayeh added that SSI had become a significant part of her life in Australia: “SSI has great groups and activities, and the case managers really care about us. I’m so happy to be able to come along today, and I am grateful that SSI staff is always so helpful.”
WERW organiser Kiki Paul said that volunteers from the Women Empowering Refugee Women group, a joint initiative of Knox Grammar School and Ravenswood School for Girls, remained committed to supporting SSI and giving back to the community.
“We recognise at WERW that we are extremely fortunate, and we just want to make these families feel welcome and to recognise what they are experiencing. We really enjoy being able to give something back wherever we can,” she said.
“We want SSI clients to feel welcome and to give these mums a break from their hectic lives.”
Ms Paul also hopes to expand WERW’s Food Bank initiative to provide emergency relief for SSI clients and other disadvantaged groups. She is currently seeking assistance from more volunteers and provisions such as non-perishable items for distribution.
For more information, visit the WERW website.