Majed Al Zanad was four years into a medical degree when the war in Syria forced him to abandon his studies. Like many refugees, he is now facing the challenging process of getting his past experience recognised so he can resume his medical studies in Australia.
A solutions-focused approach is at the heart of all the services SSI offers. Whether it’s working with people seeking asylum, refugees, children in foster care, or people with disabilities, this is a sound approach that has proven and demonstrated positive outcomes for the individuals involved and, of course, for communities.
Harmony Day is a celebration of cultural diversity that focuses on inclusiveness, respect and belonging. At SSI, we marked the day with an afternoon of food, music and dancing that also integrated Nowruz – the New Year’s celebration for more than a dozen cultures globally.
In a move that will extend support services to vulnerable families, Settlement Services International (SSI) and Metro Assist are pleased to be working together in partnership to deliver the ParentsNext initiative which begins today.
An innovative partnership between Allianz Australia and Settlement Services International (SSI) will deliver new career opportunities and support for refugees and migrants who have settled in Australia. Today’s joint announcement by Allianz Australia Managing Director Niran Peiris and SSI CEO Violet Roumeliotis coincide with the first week on the job for five recruits under the partnership employment program. The partnership aims to improve employment and educational opportunities for SSI clients as well as enhance workforce diversity at Allianz.
Recently, SSI’s General Manager Peter Zographakis gave a keynote presentation, accompanied by an editorial, about the need for not-for-profits to diversify and build strong partnerships if they are to remain sustainable and prosper. This week we were proud to announce the culmination of months of friendly negotiations that resulted in one such partnership with insurer Allianz Australia.
“You know the best part of doing this?’ asks Ian Beasley as he folds white fabric in narrow, even parts; “That each one of the creations we made today is a one-off piece, they are handmade and can’t be replicated.”
Finding work in Australia remains one of the greatest challenges for newly arrived refugees, but two sisters are helping to break down barriers by connecting refugees with job opportunities in Sydney’s competitive hospitality industry. Carol and Sharon Salloum run a popular Middle Eastern restaurant in Sydney, following in the footsteps of their parents who migrated to Australia more than 40 years ago.
This January 26 will hold new significance for Simon Shahin, who will celebrate his first Australia Day since arriving in Sydney as a refugee from Syria last year. An ambitious 22 year old, Mr Shahin has adjusted well to life in Australia. He has made new friends, run a marathon, completed work experience through Youth Collective’s Gateway to Your Future project, and was actively involved in the inaugural Techfugees Australia Hackathon in November.
Sourcing the skills and experience to step into the Australian workforce can be a struggle for many people from CALD backgrounds but SSI’s Youth Collective initiative has been helping to break down barriers for young people with a series of new projects.
Food insecurity is a growing concern for many in the community who are struggling with the rising costs of living. To improve access to basic supplies and help address issues of food security in Sydney, SSI, as a member of CoAct, has launched The Staples Bag which includes an array of food provisions for those in need.
A Refugee Week event organised by two Sydney immigration lawyers has raised about $9,000 for SSI’s Ignite Small Business Start-ups initiative. The fund-raising event organised by Adriana Mercado and Marina Brizar, of Playfair Visa and Migration Services, featured a photo exhibition of former refugees who now live in Australia, as well as speeches, drinks and canapés.
John Mashar arrived in Australia as a refugee from Sudan at age nine. Now at age 21, John told SSI how he was using his experience as a young refugee settling in a new country to help other young people through the Youth Collective. “I was born in South Sudan. Sudan is split into north and south. The north has closer relations to the Arab world, like much of North Africa. They’re mostly Muslims and they have an Arab culture. The south, where I was from, has closer relations to sub-Saharan Africa, so they’re mostly Christians, they’re animists, and they have very strong African traditions.
SSI began searching for a suitable office in the Bankstown area in September 2014, to accommodate staff and service needs of the SRSS program, the Multicultural Foster Care Service and Ability Links NSW, along with meeting, interview, training and function rooms. “(SSI General Manager) Peter Zographakis suggested that we check out a brand new site called Little Saigon Plaza, which was so good that we assumed it would be too expensive for SSI to lease in,” said Janine Stainer, SSI Facilities and Operations Manager.