Children, volunteers, church groups and families from the Ku-ring-gai community have welcomed newly arrived refugees with open arms, showing their support with a welcome event, donation appeal and more.
Ku-ring-gai Council launched a Refugee Welcome Pack Appeal late last year in response to the additional humanitarian intake from Syria and Iraq, inviting the community to contribute donations to assist refugees to start their lives in Australia.
Led by Ku-ring-gai Mayor Cheryl Szatow, with the support of SSI and the Community Migrant Resource Centre (CMRC), the appeal saw hundreds of packs delivered to refugee families, including items such as children’s books, games, toys and nappies to help new arrivals settle in their new home.
The community also banded together to show their support at a Refugee Welcome event, hosted by Ku-ring-gai Council in July, which brought together hundreds of newly arrived refugees for live music and entertainment, games, face painting and traditional food.
In a touching display of kindness, school-aged children prepared hand-written notes for newly arrived refugee children, and the Ku-ring-gai community was quick to share their efforts online using the Twitter hashtag #kuringgaisayswelcome.
SSI Manager Humanitarian Settlement Services Yamamah Agha applauded the efforts of the Ku-ring-gai community for its unwavering support of Syrian and Iraqi refugees.
"The community plays a vital part in the settlement journey of newly arrived refugees by helping our newest members of society to feel welcomed in their new homes," she said.
"The Ku-ring-gai community has embraced the unique skills, talents and diversity refugees bring to Australia, which helps to make the settlement journey a much more positive experience for newly arrived refugees.
"This sets the tone for the future and helps newly arrived families to more confidently develop social networks and fully participate in society. Ultimately this helps to build stronger and more diverse communities, which has so many benefits for the economy and our future generations."
Cr Szatow said the welcome packs were a small but significant gesture of kindness to refugees who have faced incredible hardship before arriving in Australia.
"I feel sure that we can come together to support those refugees who will need our assistance in making Australia their new home," she said.
Ms Agha also made a special mention of the collaborative efforts of SSI, Ku-ring-gai Council and CMRC, which each played a key role in coordinating, collecting and distributing the welcome packs to newly arrived families.
"This is a great example of the power of communities and how working with our colleagues in the sector delivers far greater benefits to those in need," she said.
Community members and organisations are welcome to make a donation to support refugees and ensure they receive vital resources and access to programs for their health and social participation. Your donation supports people to gain independence and reach their potential through meaningful social and economic participation.