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Refugee Week reminder of refugees’ courage

SSI case manager and humanitarian award winner, Shabeera Zia, had shown how each of us could make an impact on the lives of refugees, CEO Violet Roumeliotis said today. Ms Zia was presented with the STARTTS Youth Humanitarian award at the Refugee Week launch in Wollongong on June 12.

SSI case manager given Refugee Week award

SSI case manager Shabeera Zia has been awarded the STARTTS Youth Humanitarian award at the Refugee Week launch event in Wollongong today, June 12. The theme for Refugee Week 2015 is ‘With courage let us all combine’, taken from the second verse of Australia’s national anthem.

Refugee Week award for SSI case manager

SSI case manager Shabeera Zia has been awarded the STARTTS Youth Humanitarian award at the Refugee Week launch event in Wollongong today, June 12. The theme for Refugee Week 2015 is ‘With courage let us all combine’, taken from the second verse of Australia’s national anthem.

Speakers’ Series: Achieving justice for victims of mass atrocities

As mass atrocities displace millions of civilians around the world - many of them arriving as refugees in Australia - bringing justice to victims is of paramount importance. At this event, hear keynote presentations by Stephen J Rapp, US Ambassador-at-large for War Crimes Issues, and Phil Glendenning, President of the Refugee Council of Australia and Director of the Edmund Rice Centre. 

Youth Collective presents to NSW Ombudsman

SSI’s Youth Projects Coordinator Dor Akech Achiek presented at the NSW Ombudsman Youth Week event to raise awareness to highlight the need for support for young refugees in Australia.  The aim of the event was to raise awareness about refugee youth and issues of rights abuse for this group of young people. It was also an opportunity to focus on the role of the NSW Ombudsman’s Youth Liaison Officer. 

From the CEO: Premier support for refugees

Thank you Premier Mike Baird. Your comments at a recent Australia Day function in support of refugees and asylum seekers were positive reinforcement for all of us who work to help these people make the most of their lives in Australia. I had the pleasure of hearing Mr Baird say emphatically that NSW was in a position to support more refugees and asylum seekers and that the state would welcome them.

SSI leader one of top 25 influencers in not-for-profit sector

Settlement Services International CEO Violet Roumeliotis has been named in Pro Bono Australia’s Impact 25 list of the most influential people working in the not-for-profit sector in 2014. Ms Roumeliotis was chosen in the top 25 from 200 people working in the sector, by more than 3,600 Pro Bono Australia readers who voted.

Multicultural Foster Care Service acknowledged

“As I walked up the stairs I saw her joyfully dancing with the three children to African music that connected them so authentically to their culture – it was beautiful.” Tari, SSI caseworker. Settlement Services International (SSI) was today recognised for the innovation and positive impact of its Multicultural Foster Care Service on children and families in out-of-home care.

Youths seeking refuge offered gifts for fun

  Young people seeking asylum in Australia are in need of many essential items but the gift of free sports shoes and boots will provide something vital for all youth – fun. On August 30, 50 young people living in Sydney on bridging visas will get that gift when the Asylum Sneakers campaign promoted by Welcome to Australia and soccer commentator Les Murray hits town. Leila Druery from the non-profit organisation Welcome to Australia said the campaign idea grew from seeing the affect sport could have. “Asylum Sneakers came about after seeing the incredibly positive impact of sport on young asylum seeker children in detention centres and in the community,” she said. “Sadly, many children’s participation in sport is limited by not being able to afford shoes and sports equipment.” Settlement Services International (SSI) is a leading not-for-profit organisation that provides a range of services in the areas of humanitarian settlement, asylum seeker assistance, accommodation, foster care and disability support in NSW. The young recipients are all from SSI’s Community Support program.

Forum highlights barriers for refugee women

  Australia has a long and proud history of resettling some of the most vulnerable refugee women and their families, however, major gaps in support services for these women have been identified and need to be addressed.  Speaking today in Sydney at the Refugee Women at Risk forum hosted by Settlement Service International (SSI), SSI Manager Humanitarian Services David Keegan said that based on consultations with refugee women, it’s clear the current level of support should be reviewed. “Research conducted by the UNSW Centre for Refugee Research suggests refugee women in Australia under the Woman Risk visa category experience higher levels of post-traumatic stress and face greater challenges on resettlement,” he said. As the largest provider of services to refugee women in NSW, SSI has observed that a significant number of refugee women who enter via other visa classes have also suffered extreme physical and sexual violence and trauma prior to their arrival and require higher level specialist support services during settlement in Australia. “SSI currently supports about 1000 vulnerable women, and consultations with 50 women have highlighted a greater need for support services, particularly in employment, affordable housing, health and education,” Mr Keegan continued.

Refugee Week 2014 at SSI

Following the success of the SSI client art exhibition at Verge Gallery, “Art is Our Voice” has been invited to feature in Holroyd City Council’s event program during Refugee Week with a selection of works on display at the council’s Foyer Exhibition Space from today, June 18 to June 30, 2014, Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 4pm.  The show opens today at  10am and light refreshments will be provided.  For more information please contact Council on (02) 9840 9840. Holroyd City Council Foyer Exhibition Space, 16 Memorial Avenue, Merrylands  Another selection of works from the “Art is Our Voice” exhibition will be also on show at Sydney TAFE's Limelight Gallery from June 14 to June 30, Monday to Friday 10:30am-6:30pm, Saturday 11:00am-3:00pm. For more information contact: Limelight Gallery on (02) 9217 5173. Limelight Gallery, Sydney TAFE, Building W - Basement, 827-837 George St, Sydney

SSI celebrates Refugee Week 2014

The Power of Storytelling is the second event of SSI’s Speaker Series Refugee Week 2014 event will discuss the role of storytelling in creating awareness about the refugee and asylum seeker experience.  Speakers include award-winning writer Rosie Scott, Sri Lankan-born playwright and theatre director Dhananjaya Karunarathne and SSI client Saleh Khani.  Many refugees and asylum seekers have compelling stories to tell and crave to be listened.  However many have reasons for wanting to remain quiet, fearing further persecution to their families or in the case of asylum seekers,  negative impact on their applications for refugee status.

Refugee Week launch moves to Western Sydney in 2014

Preparations are under way for the launch of Refugee Week which will this year be held in Western Sydney for the first time. Refugee Week, Australia’s peak annual activity to inform the public about refugees and celebrate the positive contributions made by refugees, will be launched at the Granville Town Hall at 10.30am, Saturday 14 June. The launch is being coordinated by the Refugee C­ouncil of Australia (RCOA), the NSW Service for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Survivors (STARTTS) and Settlement Services International (SSI). The keynote speech will be delivered by Merrylands local Ali Ali, a former refugee who fled the Taliban in Afghanistan and arrived in Australia in 2001 as a 17-year-old asylum seeker with no English. Ali’s speech will expand on the Refugee Week theme “Restoring Hope”, recounting how his journey for safety began with danger as well as hope for a better future.