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

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

CEO Message

There were 2,254 reported instances of domestic violence in Blacktown last year alone, according to the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOSCAR).

Between July 2018 and June 2019, Blacktown local government area had the dishonor of leading the state in this regard, with nearly 700 more than the next worst. 

I would could simply say that this is unacceptable in 2019, but it seems it is getting worse. Since 2014-15, domestic violence had been trending down in NSW until a frightening spike last year.  In the last two years alone, instances of intimidation, stalking and harassment increased 9.7%. Over the same time period, breaches of Apprehended Violence Orders have jumped 11%.

This is appalling, not least due to the open secret that domestic violence is the most underreported type of case, according to our colleagues at Blacktown Local Area Command. These cases go unreported because they are overwhelmingly (99.4%) committed by people close to the victim, and are often considered “family matters”.

With Blacktown being one of the most diverse regions, many victims don’t go to the police because of cultural barriers. While some might be aware of hotlines or specialist organisations to turn to for support, they don't. There is so much that needs to be done to inform those that don’t know who they can talk to and so much more to support the women that are not culturally respected.

At SydWest we see at least one victim of domestic violence every day. Three-quarters of those are migrants that have been settled in Australia for more than five years and are unfortunately ineligible for our settlement services. 

It is a disgrace that there are no CALD-appropriate domestic violence services for once a refugee reaches that ‘settled’ status. In a lot of instances, the victims are women that have arrived as part of a family unit and are economically dependent on their spouse. This means that going to the police may make it even worse for the victim if she is unable to sustain herself and her children, has nowhere to escape to and is running the risk of being isolated from her own community.

Often, acceptance of violent behaviours in certain cultures makes it harder in discussing domestic violence; victims are not able to speak to family and friends for emotional support at the very least. 

Government, at all levels, must realise that there is no one-size-fits-all solution for all cultures. Culturally and linguistically appropriate services need to be accessible for victims of all backgrounds. Cultural understanding of course is needed for all human services, not only domestic violence. 

There is a desperate need for funding to allow strong and meaningful collaboration between specialist DV and migrant services and ensure that everybody has access to the safety they deserve. We hope that while there is a sense that women's rights are moving backwards government leaders will prove us wrong.

Women from all ethnic backgrounds have an equal right to safety and we must do better to protect it. With many women in influential positions in both government and business, it’s time we took a more collaborative approach to address domestic and family violence. 

Elfa Moraitakis

Contents

Upcoming Events

 
29 October: Blacktown Emerging Leaders & Advocates (BELA) Graduation, Blacktown
Our Youth Members graduate from BELA, an intensive mentorship and leadership coaching program. Aimed at developing young aspiring leaders, participants are given the opportunity to develop community engagement, advocacy, leadership and public speaking skills. Graduates will form the SydWest Youth Advisory Committee and become SydWest Youth Ambassadors.
For further information contact Youth Case Worker 
 Elizabeth.Koudakpo@sydwestms.org.au

31 October: Blacktown Business Lunch 2019, Blacktown
SydWest is hosting a special event at Blacktown Workers Club for employers to learn about the benefits of employing people from a refugee or migrant background or people with a disability.
For further information contact our DES Coordinator James.Lukere@sydwestms.org.au or our Settlement Services Team Leader Saurav.Shrestha@Sydwestms.org.au

29 November: SydWest Annual General Meeting 2019, Blacktown
Our annual event for members, staff and community stakeholders to celebrate with SydWest the achievements over last year. 
For further information contact Vikki.Hine@sydwestms.org.au

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
http://www.sydwestms.org.au/news-and-events/news-menu-1/activities-calendar

SydWest Finalist in ACSA Awards 2019


SydWest Multicultural Services was named a Finalist in the Provider of the Year category for the 2019 ACSA Aged Care Awards, which celebrate the outstanding achievements and contributions made by organisations, teams and individuals in the aged care industry.

We congratulate all the winners, and are honoured to have been recognised alongside all the hard-working people in our industry working hard to make a difference in the lives of seniors around the country.

We’d also like to recognise our dedicated and passionate team at SydWest Aged Care, who continue to work tirelessly to help improve the lives of so many Australians. We were pleased to attend the ceremony with our team and respected supporters.
 

Aged Care Client Story: Mirko Tesic


Maintaining an active social life is one of the most important things we can do if we want to age healthily – but we certainly don’t need to tell Mirko Tesic!

Mirko is a member of the SydWest Serbian Seniors Group, and has been attending for more than 20 years. He’s enjoyed his experience so much, he’s even joined other seniors groups in Cabramatta and Netwown!

Aside from zipping across Sydney to see his friends at his various Seniors Groups, Mirko can also be found on his soapbox speaking at the Domain every Sunday afternoon – he especially enjoys engaging with the audience and is always looking for questions to answer.

Mirko came to Australia with his family in 1970. Before coming to Australia, they had lived in the UK for 13 years, having fled the former Yugoslavia following the Second World War. Connecting with people who share similar life experiences has been an important part of Mirko feeling at home in Australia.

An electrician by trade, Mirko still gets a buzz out of tinkering with gadgets he invents. He’s currently working on a new design for a magnetized shoe insert that will help people walk more easily and with minimal effort.

Ever the extrovert, Mirko had his lightbulb moment when her was discussing the physiology of the foot with one of his friends from the Seniors Group who used to be a podiatrist.

I love sharing ideas and learning from other people – that’s why I’ve been making friends in the SydWest Seniors Group for more than 20 years!”
 

Aged Care establishing new Social Support Groups


SydWest Multicultural Services is expanding its Social Support Groups, with two new groups to be established in the Penrith and Castle Hill areas.

SydWest has served the Penrith community for many years now, working closely with council and other local service providers, and is pleased to establish a more permanent presence. 

Our new location at Castle Hill Hub is co-located with a number of other crucial local services, conveniently benefiting the local resident community.
SydWest Multicultural Services has identified the need for regular social group engagement and activity for older people. In establishing the Social Support Groups, SydWest is responding to the needs identified in these areas.

If you know an older person who would benefit from our multicultural social support groups, please contact the Aged Care Team on Tel: (02) 9621 6633 or email info@sydwestms.org.au
 

Uni Taster Youth Excursion to WSU


SydWest Multicultural Services and almost 40 Youth clients recently visited Western Sydney University, Parramatta campus as part of our focus on providing youth with pathways for further education and career development.

Our Youth Members had the opportunity to engage with university lecturers and current students from a variety of faculties, including students from multicultural and refugee backgrounds. They enjoyed being able to connect with inspirational people who shared similar experiences, and were empowered by the knowledge that they could also pursue their goals.

The visit included detailed information about pathways into WSU, emphasising the diversity of options available to students. We believe everyone should have the opportunity to go to university, regardless of their personal circumstances.

They also learned about the various scholarships available to them, and received a number of helpful resources including course guides, scholarship manuals and enrolment pathways. 

Feedback from our Youth Members has been extremely positive - in fact, one of our more motivated youth clients applied to study at WSU the following day!

More information about the Youth Development programs is available at https://www.sydwestms.org.au/services/youth-services
 

Donate Now - Donations do make a difference

BELA program participant and youth client Abdulaziz Ghanem was ecstatic to recently receive a donated desktop computer from SydWest Multicultural Services.

Abdulaziz is an active and bright long-time client we helped enrol to study nursing at Western Sydney University. With no access to a computer at home, Abdulaziz regular used the computers at our office in Mount Druitt to complete his assignments.

He was very excited when Simon Winya, his caseworker, identified an opportunity for SydWest to donate a computer. With our ongoing support, Abdulaziz is now able to confidently continue his university studies and concentrate on his assignments from the comfort of his home.

Thank you to everyone who has made a difference in Adbulaziz’ life!

Discrimination 

a poem by Buba Jollah

Buba Jalloh is one of our young clients from Sierra Leone, who arrived in Australia in May 2014 on a humanitarian visa. A passionate poet, Buba is one of our most engaged members, participating in many educational sessions organised by SydWest Multicultural Services.

He is actively involved with the SydWest Indoor Soccer program, and has completed the Grassroots Course for Youth Refugees and Migrants organized by SydWest and Football NSW. The program, run in July, uses football to develop leadership and teamwork in youth. Many participants have remained in the program, coaching kids teams and helping to pass on everything they have learned.
 
Why do you think you’re better if your culture is not the same?
Yes, maybe you seem different but deep inside all are the same.
Why do they think they’re better?
If one is black and one is white, 
If one is man and one is woman, 
They are the same that is their right.
If one is straight and one is gay,
They are no different, just the same.
 
If one is Christian and one is Muslim, 
All come from God, we are the same.
 
So, get to know all people, and show them what you think and do.
You’ll see how others live their lives, 
When you like them, then they’ll like you.
If one learns to understand and respect all points of view,
Then peace on Earth must surely come,
It is up to you, and you, and you…
Make a Difference - Donate to SydWest

In Brief

Happy Or Not?

SydWest is pleased to report that we are consistently receiving very positive customer service satisfaction feedback with our new office-based Happy or Not feedback terminals. 
 

Refer a Client Online Form Available 


Our Refer a Client online form is a simple tool that allows you to quickly refer to one of our key service areas including Aged Care services, Disability support services, Disability Employment Services, Women and Families and Youth services, as well as settlement services. 

For all information on our services and online referral form, please visit our website.
 

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Learn More about SydWest Multicultural Services

Business Hours

Monday to Friday 9:00am to 4:30pm
www.sydwestms.org.au
Please feel free to send mail to info@sydwestms.org.au
 

Blacktown Office

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

Castle Hill Hub

The Community Hub, Castle Hill Towers Shopping Centre, 6-14 Castle Street Castle Hill
(on Old Northern Rd, near Gold Class cinemas)
Phone (02) 9621 6633

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
Copyright © 2019 SydWest Multicultural Services, All rights reserved.


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