Australia’s history is inherently linked to the ocean, with migrants arriving on the country’s shores for hundreds of years. It’s a colourful history that was introduced to a group of people who are seeking asylum in Australia earlier this month, courtesy of a group of SSI volunteers.
The group of more than a dozen people who all receive support through SSI’s Status Resolution Support Services (SRSS) program enjoyed a visit to the National Maritime Museum to learn about Australia’s migrant history. The excursion was organised by Jews for Social Action (JSA) and led by SSI volunteer Lewis Klipin,
On the visit, which included a guided tour around the museum and the HMAS Vampire, volunteers provided explanations of key moments in Australian history and the group boarded a replica of Captain James Cook’s HMB Endeavour to experience life as a sailor on one of Australia’s greatest maritime adventures.
Mr Klipin, who has more than a decade of volunteering experience, including many years at the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, joined SSI as a volunteer several months ago and has since dedicated hours of his time to SSI’s Community Kitchen. Mr Klipin also has some 15 years’ experience as a guide for the National Maritime Museum, and so he helped to facilitate the day excursion, with support also provided by the Women Empowering Refugee Women (WERW) volunteer group.
As Mr Klipin explained, the excursion allowed people who are seeking asylum in Australia to learn about a part of Australian history that many had not yet experienced.
“I wanted to show them a part of Sydney that they don’t usually get to see, as most of them live in other suburbs that are far away and don’t come to the city very often,” Mr Klipin said. “I’m already planning more future outings; I’m thinking it would be nice for them to go to places like Taronga Zoo or Ku-ring-gai National Park.”
Magesh, an SSI client from Iraq, said her six-year-old son was particularly looking forward to the day excursion: “He was so excited about seeing the boats that he couldn’t sleep last night.”
SSI Chief Executive Officer Violet Roumeliotis, applauded the efforts of the JSA and WERW volunteer groups, and thanked both associations for their continued support.
“We are very grateful for the tremendous help we receive from volunteers, and their tireless efforts to help people seeking asylum in Australia,” she said.
“Our volunteers make day experiences like these possible; experiences which help our clients to build social connections, introduce them to new experiences, and help them to better understand the daily fabric of Australian life.”
The Jews for Social Action provided funding to purchase Opal Cards, while lunch was provided by WERW volunteers, which is a joint initiative of Knox Grammar School and Ravenswood School for Girls.