SSI’s 20th Anniversary

In 2020 we are proudly celebrating 20 years of serving and advocating for our communities.

SSI’s vision is to achieve a society that values the diversity of its people and actively provides support to ensure meaningful social and economic participation and to assist individuals and families to reach their potential. Thank you to our partner members, our communities and stakeholders for helping to realise this vision and working together to embrace opportunities and challenges as we have grown.

We hope you enjoy this series of 20 stories that reflect our vision and our journey over 20 years.

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SSI’s 20th Anniversary


  • The SSI Story

    SSI’s history is inextricably linked to its membership base of multicultural and migrant resource centres, whose aims and community roots remain at the core of SSI’s approach to delivering quality services and support for vulnerable communities.

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  • 2

    Global refugee youth advocate named chair of Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network

    In 2019, SSI Youth Collective steering committee member and refugee advocate Arash Bordbar was elected Chair of the Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network, a growing network of more than 340 civil society organisations and individuals from 28 countries committed to advancing the rights of refugees in the Asia Pacific.

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  • 3

    Unique sports-based program builds connections for newly arrived youth

    Access Community Service’s Multicultural Sports Club soccer coach Tresor Ruzangiza, “Working at the MSC is more than just a job – it is a chance to serve and unite my community.”

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  • 4

    Unlocking the benefits of regional settlement

    A unique approach to regional refugee settlement is delivering strong results in Armidale, offering insights that will guide other regional centres seeking to welcome newcomers as long-term members of their communities.

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  • Refugee eager to make a contribution finds dream job at Fairfield High School

    Refugee Yasser Ibrahim faced many challenges when he arrived in Australia but with the support of SSI he found accommodation within a community he loves, completed tertiary studies and gained employment as an English teacher aide at Fairfield High School.

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  • 3new

    Building relationships saw SSI’s big dream become reality

    Partnership and collaboration have been in SSI’s DNA since its formation with member organisations two decades ago. It continues today with partnerships with community and corporate organisations, and SSI’s leadership in the NSW Settlement Partnership.

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  • 7

    Iraqi-born researcher and refugee gets work published in prestigious scientific journal

    Rami Alsaberi arrived in Australia equipped with a master degree in astronomy from Baghdad University. It was his mission to continue his dream of leading an academic career and to complete a PhD in Australia.

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  • 8

    Building strong cultural connections for children in care

    In 2013 SSI became the first multicultural not-for-profit contracted to develop and deliver a culturally appropriate model of foster care in NSW.

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  • Empowerment through the arts – for everyone

    SSI’s innovative Arts & Culture program was inspired by the belief that everyone deserves the opportunity to develop their creative potential and participate meaningfully in Australia’s cultural life — no matter where they come from, what language they speak, or their level of ability.

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  • 10

    How a garden fostered lasting support networks for the community

    Between 2015 and 2019 the Friendship Garden at the Auburn Centre for Community blossomed from an SSI Community Engagement initiative to a community-run project.

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  • 11

    Self-starter refugee helps others settle in to their new home

    Sophie Bejek had been in Australia for only six months when she applied for SSI’s Community Innovation Fund to run community cooking classes. Twelve months later, she joined some of the country’s most prestigious chefs at a dinner to help raise funds for the UNICEF Syria Crisis Appeal.

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  • 12

    Enabling people with disability to live the lives they want

    SSI has a rich history of providing support to and advocating for the rights of people with disability from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds.

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  • Proactive autism advocate launches business with SSI’s support

    With the support of IgniteAbility® Small Business Start-ups, high-achieving entrepreneur and autism advocate Haydn Payne launched his own program to help with the unique challenges facing adolescents on the spectrum.

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  • 14

    Walking together: SSI’s journey to harness the power of newcomer and First Nations communities

    For the past two years, SSI has embarked on a journey of reconciliation, built on community consultation, organisational reflection, and the promise of the Uluru Statement from the Heart

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  • 15

    Volunteer’s inspiring commitment to supporting newcomers

    SSI volunteer Lewis Klipin’s unwavering commitment to volunteering is an inspiration to others, having contributed at least two days a week for over 20 years since entering retirement.

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  • 16

    Delivering a warm welcome for newly arrived refugees

    Adam Bujairami heads the team at SSI that welcomes refugees at the airport and introduces them to their new home.

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  • Former refugee and entrepreneur empowers fellow newcomers

    Hedayat Osyan is a former refugee from Afghanistan who was supported by Ignite® Small Business Start-ups to found Nick Tiling Services, which has trained and supported more than 43 people from refugee and asylum seeker backgrounds to establish their new lives in Australia.

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  • 18

    How Saira found a second family while searching for employment

    Saira, a person seeking asylum from Sierra Leone, is one of nearly 2,000 individuals from refugee and asylum seeker backgrounds supported by the NSW Government’s Refugee Employment Support Program to gain employment.

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  • 19

    From participant to manager: how Chris found his career path

    One of the best ways to excel at your job is to start from the bottom and work your way up. SSI’s Chris Blackwell knows this well.

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  • 20

    Leading the way in LGBITQ+ workplace inclusion

    In June 2020 SSI achieved a special milestone in its work around diversity and inclusion when it was awarded Bronze Tier in the 2020 Australian LGBTQ Inclusion Awards.

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