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No 2, 2021 (May)

Welcome to the latest edition of SydWest's Community Connections in 2021, our regular newsletter that brings you our news and events and more.

CEO Message

Excitement and optimism abound whenever a community organisation receives news of a successful tender and that is no different for SydWest at the moment. 

We are all thrilled to be designing our Day Care Respite Centres, that will be operating from two locations – Blacktown and Mt. Druitt – and it appears the community is too, as we have already received a number of referrals for these facilities. This new program is funded under the Commonwealth Home Support stream, and will commence on the first of July 2021 until the end of July 2023.

We are also celebrating the positive outcome of the Information, Linkages & Capacity Building tender – the Backswing project – on economic participation for people with disabilities from a CALD background. Supported by Donovan Szypura, the man behind the initial design of the program in 2017 in Tasmania, this project is a job preparation, employer engagement and capacity building program, that represents a yearlong commitment to the community of Western Sydney. 

Further, a newly funded Domestic Violence case work project has already commenced, though it is unfortunate that the case load is already hitting dangerous numbers. The life of this project is also one year. 

But whilst the excitement is soaring, and the gaps this new funding will address for our diverse communities in Wester Sydney is easy to see, I am equally frustrated because of the life of these projects. 

Identified gaps and desired outcomes cannot be addressed by a 12-month project. All levels of government need to understand that if we are true in what we want to achieve we need ongoing funding for projects with lifespans of 3–5 years at a minimum. Only then we will be able to measure the true impact of our work on our communities and society at large.

In addition to the COVID-19 Domestic and Family Violence Project, our highly successful National Community Connectors Program is coming to an end at the end of June. This program has assisted hundreds of people with disabilities to connect with the community, with appropriate services and has provided access to NDIS. Will the issue of access and equity for our diverse communities be resolved at the end of June? Will the incidents of domestic violence amongst communities that need culturally-sensitive support and understanding decrease at the end of June? 

The whole sector is trying desperately to marry excitement with frustration, all this while the gaps and needs of our diverse communities remain. 

One in four of Australia’s 25 million people were born overseas; 46 per cent have at least one parent who was born overseas; and nearly 20 per cent of Australians speak a language other than English at home.

All we ask is that all levels of government acknowledge there is no equality in access and that our communities are being disadvantaged. We need a greater commitment to multicultural services for those at need. 

Elfa Moraitakis


International Women’s Day with SydWest Multicultural Services 

On Friday 5th March, SydWest hosted a very special International Women’s Day celebration for more than 120 invited guests. Special guest speakers included:
  • Her Excellency the Honourable Margaret Beazley AC QC, Governor of New South Wales
  • Effie, renowned entertainer and comedian, presented by Logie-winner Mary Coustas
  • Clr Sera Yilmaz, an inspirational youth leader and Councillor at Fairfield City Council. 
  • Sirine Demachkie, ABC presenter and bilingual author
The event wrapped up with a lively Greek dance performance from The Nassibian Dancers directed by Christina Efthymiades. The event was a great opportunity to celebrate women’s empowerment and provided a wonderful opportunity for our women to network and build new relationships.

Harmony Week 2021 celebrated online 

SydWest Multicultural Services, in partnership with MECA Mt Druitt and Blacktown City Council, held two special online events during Harmony Week 2021.

The Blacktown Harmony Online Concert 2021 streamed a diverse program of song, dance and other performances to the engaged online audience.

The Real Conversations event featured three speakers representing mainstream, indigenous and CALD communities and included thought-provoking discussions on creating a harmonious society and what each individual could apply in their neighbourhood.

You can watch the recorded event at

Helping Youth to settle: Stephen Njoroge 

Steve is a 20-year-old young man from Kenya who came to Australia in 2018. Introduced to SydWest through a friend, he has been receiving ongoing casework support since late 2019, when he was kicked out of home. 

Essentially homeless, Steve was couch surfing and sleeping rough, until we were eventually able to get him into crisis accommodation. This process was extremely challenging, as Steve is not eligible for Centrelink due to his visa, and most housing support organisations require clients to be receiving some sort of income support.

In conjunction with Marist180, SydWest commenced a support program focused on housing, education and employment, community connection, and overall wellbeing. After some time in crisis, Steve was moved to transitional housing, and eventually moved into his own place to live independently in the community. Steve has showed resilience, maturity and determination throughout this challenging process despite having very limited support outside of SydWest.

“SydWest has been helping me a lot. day in and day out. I didn’t even know before how to apply for jobs, you taught me. And the house too, you helped me to get it, I didn’t know where to start. You taught me how to save, and I’m still trying to save but at least I have a start.

And it keeps on helping me to be courageous in what I’m doing, and getting to know new stuff that I didn’t know. How I’m living now is going very well. I really appreciate it a lot and I want you to keep on doing what you’re doing because it really helps.” 

A year ago, Steve gained employment at Hello Fresh. After working consistently and with dedication over the last year, he was recently made permanent full time. This was a great achievement and gives Steve security for his future. He is now focused on getting his driver’s license which he is steadily working towards and will soon apply for Australian citizenship. 

As part of this support program, Steve was also encouraged to participate in several youth activities, including information workshops and consultations, school holiday activities, the indoor soccer program and futsal tournaments. 

For more information on the SydWest Youth program, please contact or Tel: 9621-6633.

SydWest helps client to access NDIS

In April 2019, Jaya was struggling to access the NDIS for her child. Being new to Australia, Jaya and her family had a number of questions about accessing services and was not sure where to turn.

After being referred to SydWest, the family was matched with a support officer from the same cultural background. This helped the family built a trusting relationship with their case worker, and enabled them to both share and understand critical information required to help their child.

The family’s case worker explained the relevant services available to the family, including Service NSW and the Active Kids Vouchers scheme, NDIS and how NDIS registered providers work as well as how NDIS can benefit her child emotionally and financially. The case worker also helped the family to compile the right documents from health professionals.

With SydWest’s help, Jaya’s child received NDIS access, and was subsequently connected to the ‘SydWest for Core Support’ service. Beyond the direct need, Jaya’s case worker also supported the family’s transition to Australian life. He/she shared information regarding NSW tourist attractions to visit with her whole family, and encouraged Jaya to use various websites for discounted deals for the whole family such as Groupon and Scoopon, and explained how they have various deals to make family activities more affordable.

Jaya’s qualifications enabled her to volunteer in SydWest’s HR department, and she was recently transitioned to a paid role. With her job in hand, Jaya will continue to be offered support to grow her skills and build her career in Australia.

For further information on SydWest's Settlement services, contact or Tel: 9621-6633

Raguvarman Ragupathy: Finding a place to Call Home 

Raguvarman is a 20-year-old young man from Sri Lanka who came to Australia in August 2019.

In June 2020, he approached SydWest for accommodation support after disclosing a number of family issues. Ragu was initially placed in temporary crisis accommodation, and after a period of four months SydWest was able to help him gain acceptance to the Rent Youth Choice program. Ragu now has stable and secure accommodation and is living independently in a unit in Western Sydney.

“At that time I couldn’t find any proper place to stay, and whatever accommodation I found was very expensive, so I approached SydWest and Mr Simon. They helped me to find accommodation and also provided meals, food and everything.”

With his housing issues sorted, Ragu was able to progress in other areas of his life. He has now successfully attained his provisional driver’s license and gained full time employment. 

“Last year, for work I had to obtain a forklift license – and I had to fill some booklets which I found very difficult. I came in to SydWest and they helped me to fill the form and the booklet and everything.”

Since approaching SydWest, Ragu has received regular casework support and has participated in several SydWest Youth programs including excursions, workshops and indoor soccer. 

“In addition to helping me find a home and job, SydWest encouraged me to participate in the youth programs – like going out somewhere, play soccer, BBQ’s and parties. These kinds of things created a lot of positive changes in my life.” 

For more information on the SydWest Youth program, please contact or Tel: 9621-6633.

Basketball and inclusion for Sabera

In 2017, SydWest’s Youth Transition Program established a girls’ basketball program, run together with ‘Charity Bounce’, to help young clients build relationships, develop self-confidence and leadership skills, and connect with their community while improving their health and fitness.

One of these young basketballers was Sabera Taqizada, who arrived from Afghanistan in 2016 having never heard of the sport. Introduced to SydWest through friends, Sabera joined the program and immediately fell in love.

Eagerly running to practice twice a week, and practicing what she had learnt at home with a ball she and her sister saved up to buy, Sabera’s skills and love for the game quickly grew. In 2018, SydWest helped Sabera join a two week basketball camp which further developed her skills.

Sabera’s dedication paid off, qualifying for the Western Sydney Wolves representative team in 201x. With her reps team, Sabera is in an environment where she can not only perfect her game, but build meaningful relationships with her teammates and in turn her community. 

I want to give a special thanks to SydWest Multicultural Services for helping me with my basketball journey and connecting me with Charity Bounce. Now I am a rep player for team Wolves! I will keep working hard on my game and trust the process and see what happens.”

Sabera (centre) with her basketball team

Youth First Aid Training

SydWest has established a referral partnership with ‘License for Work’ and ‘Just Training’, to ensure our youth clients have access to the training they need to enhance their job prospects and achieve positive outcomes.

We are proud to confirm that five youth clients have already graduated with a certificate in First Aid, while more than 30 more have been referred to these programs and are on the path to certification.

In addition to First Aid, youth can access forklift license and white card training. SydWest is currently working to add pharmaceuticals certificates that would assist clients in securing roles as chemist assistants.

For more information on the SydWest Youth program, please contact or Tel: 9621-6633.

Driving for Settlement success

Mehdi, a father of one, came to Australia in 2015 as a refugee with little English. Applying himself diligently, Mehdi quickly picked up the English language and enrolled in a Diploma of Community Services.
Having volunteered with SydWest since 2016, when Mehdi completed his training he began work as a Mentor Driver for the Learner Driver Mentor Program, and has helped tens of newly arrived refugees and migrants obtain their driver’s license in order to get a job.
His efforts and commitment have helped empower numerous clients from diverse backgrounds, with his own successes serving as a guiding example. Mehdi recently passed his citizenship test and is now in the process of acquiring Australian citizenship.

For further information on SydWest's Settlement services, contact or Tel: 9621-6633

SETS and Employment with  Coles is Flourishing

Keshab Gautum is a Bhutanese migrant who came to Australia after living in refugee camps for more than 20 years. With SydWest’s support, Keshab recently secured a job at Coles Mt Druitt, which is a major step to gaining independence and transitioning into the community.

SydWest’s Employment Accelerator partners with businesses in the local community to help transition clients to paid work. One of those businesses is Coles Mt Druitt, which has worked closely with SydWest since 2019 and has helped place our clients.

For more information, please contact Puspa Acharya, Employment Project Officer & Generalist Caseworker or Tel: 9621-6633.
Click Here for Annual Report 2020
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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

Level 1, 13 Cleeve Close, 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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