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“Settlement Services International”

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“Settlement Services International”

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New bed is a big deal for refugee boy with cerebral palsy

Thanks to a generous member of the Bankstown community, a 16-year-old refugee boy with cerebral palsy has been gifted a much-needed electric bed that has meant he no longer needs to spend 18 hours a day on his mother’s lap. The boy, whose family was originally from Iraq and is now living in Warwick Farm in western Sydney, previously spent most of the day in his mother’s arms because it was not safe for him to be in a normal bed.

From refugees to entrepreneurs

Small business entrepreneurs of refugee background were celebrated on Monday November 17 at the launch event of Ignite Small Business Start-ups (Ignite) in Sydney. Attended by almost 100 people, the event featured catering, photography, and film by some of the entrepreneurs supported by the Ignite initiative.

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.

Cricket community helps asylum seeker

Cricket has been something of a saviour for Tamil asylum seeker Uthay, since he came to Australia. Uthay, his preferred name, is originally from Sri Lanka and is awaiting assessment for refugee protection. He is a Tamil man, 27 years old, and the potential consequences for men like Uthay in Sri Lanka are such that his full name and image can’t be revealed.

Women at Risk gain skills for a safe start

Humanitarian entrants who come to Australia on Women at Risk (WaR) visas are among the most vulnerable of refugees. They have been displaced from their homes and have experienced or been in danger of abuse, harassment and victimisation because of their gender.

Young refugees share their stories

The lives and settlement experiences of young refugees will be explored at the fourth and final Speakers’ Series event for 2014 hosted by Settlement Services International (SSI). Titled The strength of youth: young people and their refugee experiences, the event on Tuesday, November 11, will begin with three young people from refugee backgrounds sharing their stories.

One person’s food, is another’s future

Yoga Raja has a talent for “food carving” that is finding appreciative audiences at Sydney weddings and functions. Yoga, 32, is an artist and food – watermelons, carrots and white radish – is his medium. From a watermelon he can carve a life-like human portrait, and from carrots and radish he sculpts bouquets of flowers that people approach to smell as if real.

New arrivals find a “lifetime” sport

Tony Podesta believes tennis is a ‘lifetime’ sport. So who better to teach tennis to then recently arrived refugees settling into their new lives in Australia?  A group of 8 to 12 children and adults has participated in a Tennis Australia Multicultural Tennis Program for Refugees at the Tony Podesta School of Tennis in Fairfield once a week for the past 10 weeks. 

Multicultural group enriches Sydney music

Asylum seekers may not be able to bring many material possessions with them when seeking safety in Australia, but many of them bring impressive skills. To give their talents an outlet, and so more people can enjopy them, Settlement Services International (SSI) an a Sydney music organisation have facilitated opportunities for a group of refugee and asylum seeker musicians from Iran and Burma. 

Foster carers help maintain cultural connections

The importance of maintaining a child’s connection to their cultural heritage, language and religion while in foster care should not be underestimated. During NSW Foster Care week, September 14-21, Manager of Multicultural Foster Care Service (MFCS) Mr Ghassan Noujaim, hopes to highlight the important work of the services’ foster carers in helping maintain cultural connections. “Our foster carers are incredible in their dedication to, and support for, keeping cultural links for their foster children,” said Mr Noujaim.

Champion team united on the soccer field

  Most of them had never played soccer on grass fields with marked lines before, but in their first season in Australia this special team proved themselves champions. After a thrilling 2-1 win, the Newington Gunners Soccer Club’s team of refugees and asylum seekers won its Grand Final on Saturday, September 13. The players had come from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Sierra Leone, Turkey, Nepal and Tajikistan to enjoy safer, better lives in Australia. Many of them are supported by not-for-profit organisation Settlement Services International’s (SSI) humanitarian settlement programs. SSI CEO Violet Roumeliotis said watching them play this season had been inspiring. “Knowing just a little about the circumstances these individuals have come from has made watching them enjoy themselves on the soccer field this year an inspiring experience,” Ms Roumeliotis said. “It has been heartwarming to see them put traumatic life experiences in the background while they enjoy the sport they love and make new friends in the community, just like many other Australians enjoy doing. They are another inspiring example of how people who come to Australia as refugees or to apply for refugee status as asylum seekers can, and want, to participate in our communities.

Champions on and off the field

They have escaped crises and horrors around the world to find some peace of mind on soccer fields in western Sydney. Now, seven months after a generous community campaign helped them join a Sydney soccer club, this team of refugees and asylum seekers will challenge for a championship.

Crucial humanitarian support to continue uninterrupted

Settlement Services International (SSI) is pleased to announce that it has been awarded the tender to deliver Status Resolution Support Services in NSW and ACT. The Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) has worked with stakeholders over the past 18 months to bring four existing support programs for asylum seekers together into a single program to deliver support services to clients while their immigration status is being resolved. The resulting program is known as Status Resolution Support Services (SRSS)

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.

SSI supporting asylum seekers, two years on

This week marks the second anniversary of Settlement Services International (SSI) delivering support programs to asylum seekers in NSW. From about 15 staff supporting 75 clients in 2012, SSI now has 160 staff members.  Manager Humanitarian Services David Keegan said it was a testament to staff and team leaders that the organisation had successfully and efficiently negotiated the large growth in such a short timeframe.

Homeless refugee youth feel double loss

A short film, which premiere’s today, explores the real life experience of homelessness faced by refugee youth living without their families in Sydney. ‘Broken Time’ is the story of Ali, an Unaccompanied Humanitarian Minor (UHM), who falls back on his survival instinct when he finds himself homeless on the streets of Sydney. Developed by Settlement Services International (SSI), which provides services to humanitarian entrants, with funding from The Australia Council for the Arts, the film will be launches today in Bankstown, to coincide with International Youth Day. Dilber Hussain played the role of Ali, and was all too familiar with the experience of his character in the film. Dilber is from Pakistan and arrived in Australia in 2012 as a UHM at the tender age of 17. When his circumstances rapidly deteriorated and he was faced with homelessness, Dilber said he was frightened. “Staying in a different place every night, and with strangers, it was hard,” said Dilber. “I didn’t know how to get help, and I feel very lonely here without my family.”

Double loss felt by homeless refugee youth

A short film, which premiere’s today, explores the real life experience of homelessness faced by refugee youth living without their families in Sydney. ‘Broken Time’ is the story of Ali, an Unaccompanied Humanitarian Minor (UHM), who falls back on his survival instinct when he finds himself homeless on the streets of Sydney. Developed by Settlement Services International (SSI), which provides services to humanitarian entrants, with funding from The Australia Council for the Arts, the film will be launches today in Bankstown, to coincide with International Youth Day. Dilber Hussain played the role of Ali, and was all too familiar with the experience of his character in the film. Dilber is from Pakistan and arrived in Australia in 2012 as a UHM at the tender age of 17. When his circumstances rapidly deteriorated and he was faced with homelessness, Dilber said he was frightened.

SSI Speaker Series: Perception is reality

Settlement Services International’s (SSI) third Speakers’ Series event for 2014 will explore the theme: Perception is reality: How do we form our perceptions of refugees and asylum seekers? The live panel discussion will approach the complex question from different angles following a presentation by Professor Andrew Markus, who heads the Scanlon Foundation’s Mapping Social Cohesion research program based at Monash University. The 2014 Mapping Social Cohesion report suggested that the majority of Australians support a humanitarian settlement program, which assesses refugees overseas but are negative towards asylum seekers arriving by boat. The predominant view is that asylum seekers are illegal economic migrants. Claims of persecution are often ignored as a push factor. These views have increased since 2011. 

Wrestling champion hangs on to hope and new friends

Mohamadreza Ashori, 30, dreamt of competing at the Olympic Games, and still holds on to those hopes despite setbacks throughout his life. In May he won the 74 kilogram division at the Australia Cup of Wrestling. He would have qualified for the Commonwealth Games earlier in the year after success in other events, but he is not an Australian citizen. Mohamadreza is seeking refugee protection in Australia and has lived in the community for about 12 months while his application is assessed. That means he is not eligible to compete in the Games. He has been supported by Settlement Services International’s (SSI) Community Support Program during that time.

Once denied education, Mahdia now relishes her school work

  Mahdia, 18, could not attend school in Iran because of social and financial barriers. But since she arrived in Australia with her mother and brothers, she has thrown herself into school work with vigour. “I really, really love going to school,” Mahdia said, “because I had so many barriers in the country where I came from. I love my school, I love my teachers and subjects and I love to study. I like to go to the library to study whenever I can and if I don’t, I feel like I have missed out on something.”  Mahdia was born in Iran, where her family had fled to from war-torn Afghanistan. Attending school in Iran was all but impossible, she said, because of her gender and ethnicity. “But I studied by myself and went to an institute to study English,” Mahdia said. “Then we came here to Australia. We were so broken. We had a lot of issues but we did it.”