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Services to help newly arrived refugees and migrants still available despite COVID-19 restrictions

Source: Supplied by Nabaz Al Qadhi

Settlement Services International is at the forefront of efforts to help migrants and refugees settle in Australia.

Refugee Week is Australia’s peak annual activity to inform the public about the plight of refugees and to celebrate positive contributions made by refugees to the Australian community.

The period provides a platform where positive contributions of refugees can be promoted in order to create a welcoming culture throughout the country.

Today, a range of targeted settlement services, which rely on the wider mainstream service system, are at the forefront of the practice of settlement and integration in Australia.

Successful settlement and integration are a goal shared by refugees and the communities where they settle.

Settlement Services International (SSI) is one of those successful resettlement organisations in assisting newly arrived people in Australia, particularly refugees. 

SBS Kurdish speaks to Nabaz Qadhi, Humanitarian Settlement Program (HSP) Team Leader at SSI about Refugee Week.

The celebration of Refugee Week this year is impacted by coronavirus due to social distancing. Hence there will not be mass gatherings for celebrations.

“The only difference this year is that we’re not seeing anyone face-to-face, but we still meet clients online. COVID-19 information is translated into 19 languages by SSI and Kurdish is one of them," Mr Qadhi said.

“The information found to be very beneficial to the refugee community. We received positive feedback regarding the translated information.”

The willingness of refugees to volunteer to strengthen reciprocal social and civic participation between refugees and other members of the community.

Many refugees engage in community initiatives to facilitate meeting and exchange between refugees and receiving communities at the local level, building on refugees’ positive sense of trust in neighbourhoods during the early stages of settlement.

“Many refugees currently work as volunteers, participating in the community in any way possible. Some continue with their education especially the youth by attending college or university," he said.

"Socially, they participate in sport by forming sporting teams such as soccer or basketball.”

For the newly arrived, whether being refugees, migrants, or asylum seekers employment is integral in the settlement journey, it provides a valuable pathway to achieving independence.

“Not long after their arrival many refugees seek employment and a number of them find employment to be part of the community and it’s a way of integration.”

Young refugees study more than other migrants and people born in Australia. They contribute greatly to civic and community life. They volunteer, promote community development, and engage in neighbourhood activities and events. 

“All these topics pose all sorts of positivity about refugees belonging to society,” Mr Qadhi said.

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