Welcome to the Summer 2019 edition of SydWest Multicultural Services' Community Connections newsletter....we hope you enjoy the reading.
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Summer 2019 Edition

Welcome to the Summer 2019 edition of SydWest's Community Connections, our quarterly newsletter that brings you our news and events and more.

CEO Message

We are all watching closely the progress of the Royal Commission into Aged Care & Safety that commenced a few days ago in Adelaide, hoping that its outcomes will not only benefit the elderly and their families but the broader sector including both residential & home care service providers.

As an Aged & Disability services approved provider we anticipate that recommendations will be meaningful rather than serve political purposes alone. Positive announcements such as the increase of the Short-Term restorative care places that was already announced last year (!) and the release of another 10,000 Home Care packages that is part of the government’s commitment to increase funding for aged care by $5 billion over five years, unfortunately allow the distrust to creep in. 

Contrary to the Royal Commission into the banking industry we would like to see recommendations that safeguard the human rights of our elderly in environments that are safe, friendly, respectful and culturally appropriate for them. In environments that will not demand additional costs because they will become a privilege but because it everyone’s right to have access to. 

Additionally, we understand that the Commission will bring changes into an already reformed sector and we welcome equally meaningful improvements. Registers that will need additional resources to police a ‘name & blame’ tool can become quite dangerous on hands of individuals. We don’t have to look too far than the recent establishment of the NDIS Fraud Squad.

We do not need to reinvent the wheel. Goverments need to show leadership in changing the culture that has been created and finds our elderly alone, disrespected and forgotten. And while every dollar counts, my intelligence is offended when I know that our home care national waiting list has increased to approximately 127,000 elderly citizens, with a lot having to wait more than a year to receive the care they have already been approved for. These people’s lives cannot be used as a political game … 


Upcoming Events

Launch of Blacktown Emerging Leaders & Advocates Program - 5 March
An initiative of our of Youth Team, this 6 month program trains young people in leadership and advocacy skills, matched with an experienced mentor. For further information, contact

International Women’s Day 2019 – 8 March
SydWest Multicultural Services is hosting a special event at Blacktown Library to inspire and progress women’s aspirations and move towards #balanceforbetter. Our event will feature entertainment from SydWest client groups – mothers and youth – as well as presentations from inspirational guest speakers, all MC’d by ABC Radio National’s Claudia Taranto. For further information, contact

Afghan Women Leaders Delegation Visits SydWest - 11 March
SydWest Multicultural Services, in partnership with Afghan Women on the Move, is hosting a special forum of Afghan Women Leaders who are visiting Australia. For further information or to register, contact
Harmony Day 2019 Blacktown - 20 March
SydWest Multicultural Services is again leading a large team of supporters to bring the community together for this annual celebration day. Harmony Day celebrates Australia's cultural diversity. It's about inclusiveness, respect and a sense of belonging for everyone. Everyone is welcome - our event is free - come along and join in all the fun and celebrations! To be held from 11am at Bowman Hall, Blacktown. For further information, Tel: (02) 9621 6633 or

Triple P for Blacktown Multicultural women’s support group
Triple P parenting program starts February 2019 – all SydWest Families team members are qualified to deliver this training, which provides our CALD parents with positive parenting tips and early intervention into behaviour problems for children. For more information, contact

Australians Sharing a New Story Information Session No 2 - 20 March
Come hear about our exciting new initiative, a partnership between SydWest Multicultural Services and Initiatives of Change, for a community story-sharing weekend where everyone's story matters. To get involved and for more information, contact

Don’t forget to check our Activities Calendar for details of all the various Groups and special events that SydWest is holding in 2019 at

Blacktown Emerging Leaders and Advocates – Mentors

SydWest Multicultural Services is launching a new and innovative program for young refugee and migrant people called BELA: Blacktown Emerging Leaders and Advocates.

The program features a 6 month training program to develop leadership and advocacy skills, supported with mentors and training specialists, as well as fun and engaging activities to build their passions to make a difference.

An information session held 19 February 2019 attracted a quality group of young prospects, with the program due to commence shortly. If you want to apply to be a mentor, contact for further information.

Chair recognised for community contribution

Chief Inspector Robert Fitzgerald of Blacktown Police Area Command and Chair of SydWest Multicultural Services was honoured recently by Western Sydney University with Community Fellowship for his contributions to the Western Sydney region.
Robert Fitzgerald was presented this prestigious honorary award by Deputy Chancellor Elizabeth Dibbs in recognition of his outstanding service and contribution to Western Sydney at the university’s graduation ceremonies in late 2018.

Client Story - Ed Yousef 

Ed Yousef is a young man who arrived from Syria in June 2013 seeking a safe place to live, away from war and destruction and looking to start a new life with better opportunities. ... Read more

Aged Care and NDIS new Rouse Hill premises

SydWest Multicultural Services has opened its new premises in Rouse Hill! Located on the Ground Floor of the Vinegar Hill Community Centre, staff from SydWest’s Aged Care and Disability Services teams are working from this site and keen to connect with The Hills community.
Of particular interest will be our Community Connection Coordinators, a program funded through NDIS to assist people living with disabilities to connect with community and mainstream services. To find out more, contact

New Arrivals graduate with new skills

In late 2018, two groups of SydWest Multicultural Services clients graduated with TAFE qualifications through SydWest’s Settlement Services team.
Two classes graduated:
  • 10 men and women graduated in basic computer skills
  • 10 women graduated in Cert 1 Business Administration. These women had already completed their basic computer skills course earlier in 2018 and are building on their knowledge and qualifications.
SydWest Multicultural Services is committed to the three key pillars for successful settlement of English, education employment. By obtaining qualifications, our clients improve their chances of obtaining sustainable employment. 
Congratulations to everyone on your achievement!

Accelerator Success

In late 2018, SydWest Multicultural Services ran its second Blacktown Employment Accelerator speed networking event to connect employers with job-ready candidates. More than 80 people participated in the event. 

To find out more, contact SydWest Multicultural Services on
Tel: (02) 9621 6633 or
Client good news
Shaliny Johnson attended the 2017 Blacktown Employment Accelerator and is a great example of the power of the Blacktown Employment Accelerator to successfully accelerate the employment process for both employers and job seekers.
... Read more

Chinese Seniors Inspired to Form Choir!

SydWest Multicultural Services has been convening a Chinese Seniors Group for more than 30 years. This year, as part of the end-of-year celebrations, the group felt inspired to share their thoughts - the following is a translated version of their message to SydWest:

Very grateful! SydWest Multicultural Services has brought us so much joy! On the 15th of December 2018, SydWest organised the Multicultural Christmas party. On that day, people of different races and different religions gathered to promote many different cultures, demonstrating tolerance and learning from one another, everyone was glad to experience this harmony!
Living in this multicultural nation, we feel that we are extremely lucky and free! The Chinese Seniors group and Chinese Women group felt so grateful on that day that we have decided to form a Chinese senior choir group with the hope to promote our beautiful Chinese culture. We hope that we will able to contribute in future Christmas parties organised by SydWest by expressing the goodwill in our hearts through singing. We want to sing for our beautiful future! Sing, dance, and have fun together!

In Brief

SydWest joins in Welcome Picnic with Blacktown City Council
The second annual Syrian Welcome Picnic was held in late November 2018 and a great success. A collaboration between SydWest Multicultural Services and Blacktown City Council, the event attracted more than 200 people and included food, entertainment and speeches.
Celebrating Year-end 
The Settlement Services team enjoyed a picnic in the park with their clients and volunteers, a time to reflect on heir achievements during 2018, to socialise, share and celebrate together.
Youth Celebrate Together t he 2018 achievements
The Youth Team celebrated the end-of-year with engaging, fun-filled activities and dinner, encouraging our youth clients to share their particular talents as part of the entertainment.
CEO to present at National Conference
Elfa Moraitakis, CEO of SydWest Multicultural Services will be speaking at the 2019 Australian Local Government Women's Association (ALWGA) Conference being held 15-17 May 2019 at the Rooty Hill RSL and hosted by Blacktown City Council.
Multicultural Christmas Celebration brought together our clients from the Aged Care and Disability Services division for a wonderful morning of entertainment and lunch. SydWest has partnered with Sathya Sai International’s youth volunteer team for several years to ensure every one of the 300 guests felt special and enjoyed their morning.
The Families Team celebrated the end-of-year with visits from Reptile Man & Santa among the entertainment.

Youth restarts Driving Lessons

As part of our ongoing commitment to ensuring our clients settle effectively, the Youth Team have again started up their free driving lessons for eligible clients. If you want to know more about our Learner Driver program, please contact
Client success story
Ekhlas Yousif is a young woman from Iraq who arrived in Australia in 2016 having first fled to Turkey with her husband. From a rural background, she was alone in Australia but found her way to SydWest in Mt Druitt.... Read more

Client Good News: Suman Chawla
Volunteering and Employment 

Suman Chawla joined SydWest Multicultural Services as a client in 2017. At that time, she expressed her desire to become a SydWest volunteer. Once a very quiet, stay at home mother, she has grown in leaps and bounds with her experiences and the support of SydWest.

Suman joined the SydWest Volunteers Program in 2018 and started supporting the Women & Families team with their various events and activities. She also supported the SydWest Employment Officer with a series of employment workshops and events. In connecting with this area of SydWest, Suman was referred to "Fitted for Work" to help her prepare for her job-seeking activities.

While volunteering with SydWest, Suman continued to apply for work and found temporary work in administration, where her contract has since been extended twice.

Thanks to her experiences with SydWest, Suman says she feels more confident and her experiences at SydWest have boosted her self-esteem.

Thanks very much to SydWest for giving me the opportunity ... participation in such events and workshops is helping me greatly in rebuilding my confidence and my personality.’
Want to know more about volunteering with SydWest Multicultural Services? Contact us today on Tel: (02) 9621 6633 or

Disability Employment Services

Working for an inclusive labour market

In mid 2018, SydWest Multicultural Services began its new Disability Employment Services (DES). DES is an Australian Government’s employment service designed to help people with disability, injury or health condition to find and keep a job.

SydWest Multicultural Services is delivering DES in partnership with Settlement Services International (SSI) in the Blacktown and Mt Druitt areas.

SydWest has been developing and strengthening partnerships with local employment service providers, government agencies and employers in order to achieve inclusive employment outcomes for our clients. We work closely with our clients – job-seekers with a disability – to build their confidence and skills to win sustainable employment. We have also created work experience opportunities to further assist our clients to become job-ready.

To date, we have successfully placed several clients in paid employment as a result of our work during Accessibility Day and International Day of People with Disability 2018. We look forward to continuing to create inclusive employment opportunities as well as encouraging employers from any industry to address their  employment gaps with our DES clients.

For further information or to register with us, please call SydWest's Disability Employment Services Coordinators on (02) 9621 6633.

Client Profile: Buba Jalloh - Thank You poem

Buba Jalloh
is a young client from Sierra Leone, who arrived in Australia in May 2014 under a humanitarian visa. Buba is currently involved with SydWest Indoor Soccer program, has completed the grass roots coaching program, and has been participating in many educational sessions run by SydWest Multicultural Services.

Buba shared this poem with his caseworker, which we would like to share with you. 

“Thank You”
I know the words I’d like to say to you. 
To give thanks for all that you've done. 
But each time I try to say the words. 
They escape me as fast as they come. 

How could I ever thank you enough? 
It's because of you I now feel whole. 
You encouraged me to find my strength. 
So I could embrace the depths of my soul. 

You've taught me so many lessons for life. 
You made me believe I deserved to be first. 
You forced me to test my broken wings. 
And supported me when I was at my worse. 

You paint the world a colourful rainbow. 
It's because of you I now can dream. 
You never gave up who you knew I was. 
Knowing I was not the person I seemed. 

Could there ever be adequate words of thanks? 
For being there with me when times were tough? 
Everything that I feel I want to say to you. 
Doesn't quite measure up to being enough. 

How could I possibly just say thanks? 
Thanks for being there through all my tears. 
Thanks for ten thousand little things you've done. 
And for putting up with me over the years? 

A million thanks for never giving up on me. 
Though I know you've been at wit's end. 
Thanks for always being honest to me, about me. 
But mostly thanks for truly being a helper Bronwyn.

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Business Hours

Monday to Friday 9:00am to 4:30pm
Please feel free to send mail to

Blacktown Office

PO Box 869, Blacktown NSW 2148
Level 2,125 Main Street, Blacktown NSW 2148
Phone (02) 9621 6633
Fax (02) 9831 5625

Mt Druitt Hub

Shop 3, 6-10 Mount Street, Mt Druitt NSW 2770
Phone (02) 9625 0455
Fax (02) 9625 0322

Penrith Hub

Suite 113, Community Connection Building, 114-116 Henry Street, Penrith NSW 2750
Phone (02) 9621 6633

Rouse Hill Hub

Vinegar Hill Memorial Library, 29 Main Street, Rouse Hill Town Centre, NSW 2155
Phone (02) 9621 6633
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