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Community Connections SydWest Multicultural Services Newsletter

Spring 2017 Edition


From the Desk of the CEO

In an attempt to move away from print, I would like to welcome you all to our first e-newsletter edition of our Community Connections.

As always, times have been very busy at SydWest doing what we do best, servicing our clients in Western Sydney and the Nepean region. In the links below you will find a lot of information on the amazing work of our dedicated and loyal staff and on how their work impacts on our local communities. A lot of that work will be showcased at our upcoming AGM on the 2nd of November 2017, at the Nepean Room at The Penrith City Council; Mayor John Thain will join us as our guest speaker and Dr Samer Sirri a Syrian refugee engaged with SydWest will share his settlement experience. 

We are proud to also have The Hon. Minister Ray Williams officially launching our Aged Care & Disability services collocation with Interrelate on Wednesday 25th October 2017 from 10am in the Rex Money Room, Vinegar Hill Memorial Community Centre, Civic Way, Rouse Hill Town Centre. It is a great opportunity to hear from the Minister for Multiculturalism & Disability services, as well as SydWest clients who will share their experiences and the importance of culturally appropriate services. Join us to network with key stakeholders and to work on developing collaborative relationships for the future. I am looking forward to seeing you at both of our events! 

Enjoy reading!
Elfa Moraitakis, CEO

Navigating Resettlement Youth Project in action.

Navigating Resettlement – showcase and conference presentation

Over the 2016-17 year, young refugees and migrants from SydWest Multicultural Services have been exploring their hopes and dreams for the future through our special, weekly Navigating Resettlement Program.

About Navigating Resettlement

Working in partnership with WSU, the program created a safe space where refugee and migrant youth between 12-25 years could talk about what they want to do in their futures and take steps to follow their aspirations. The project gave the young people the opportunity to learn web design, photo shop and other digital skills as well as study with tutors from WSU, visit the University and attend mentoring sessions. A key focus was the melding of volunteering, employment and building professional and social networks.
The project culminated in a showcase event for the young people, their families and friends where their works were on display, they talked about how the project made a difference to their life aspirations and they also shared their performance skills (eg rapping, dancing). The Showcase was a joyous celebration of their achievements to date and hinted at the leadership potential of our young people moving forward.
Elfa Moraitakis, CEO and Dr Karin McKay of WSU also presented on the project at the recent Cultural Shift Conference 2017 providing an example of a best practice model in working effectively in the settlement process so as it integrates past experiences of young people with their future aspirations. It is hoped that the project will also inform policy and future opportunities for funding.

Settlement outings for cultural immersion

SydWest’s newly arrived refugee and migrant clients enjoy regular opportunities to learn about their new culture and society with special group outings. The visits cover places where they can learn more about Australia and in the future go themselves to those areas with their families. This program helped the clients to build social networks, reduce social isolation, learn more about Australia and make friends.
During Winter 2017, a group of more than 70 families and individuals joined together for a day out to Bicentennial Park in Homebush.  A 40 hectare parkland, the group explored the natural environment, played sports, shared foods and entertainment and enjoyed a typical Sydney day in the sunshine.
The next large group outing is scheduled for October 2017 and will be visiting the Blue Mountains icons of the Three Sisters, Katoomba and Wentworth Falls. 
For further information, contact
Checkout our Facebook page for all the latest events

Digital Storytelling – a partnership with Save the Children for Refugee and Migrant Youth

SydWest Multicultural Services has recently partnered with Save The Children and their mobile youth van – My.Van – to provide access to innovative technologies and resources and develop their skills in story-telling, leadership and advocacy potential.

The project has started in Mt Druitt, with the technology van visiting our premises each Wednesday. During Term 3, our young people have opportunity to explore the many opportunities to follow their passions and develop skills in sharing their stories. Some follow music and performing, others create film, digital animations or web-content.
SydWest and Save the Children are currently recruiting a group of young aspiring leaders from our refugee and migrant community to work together to develop a body of work that can share their voices with the wider community.

Each young person will be supported to develop their interests and skills and produce content that can be shared online or via radio and other multimedia platforms.  The Digital Storytelling project will run for 10 weeks during Term 4 from Mt Druitt and will culminate in a special showcase event to celebrate the achievements.
For further information and to register interest, please contact 

Settlement and Refugee Yoga

SydWest Multicultural Services is pleased to announce that a special fund-raiser during Refugee Week 2017 has secured funding to deliver Refugee Yoga to our Arabic-speaking clients in Mt Druitt.

The 10-week program is due to start soon and will be delivered by the highly qualified and well-respected yoga instructor, Danielle Begg, Founder of the Refugee Yoga Project. For more information, contact
Aged Care and Disability Services
Read more
Seniors Social Group Activities
Read more
Seniors Week 2017

SydWest’s Seniors AMF Bowling a Hit!

As part of the Seniors Festival 2017 celebrations, SydWest Multicultural Services held a very special event at the AMF Tenpin Bowling Centre in WestPoint.

More than 220 seniors – clients, volunteers, family and friends – came together for a day of bowling, entertainment and lunch. The entertainment included special cultural dance performances by members of the Filipino and Turkish senior communities. Activities included bowling and playing the many arcade machines on offer.

Many of the seniors had never bowled before and on arrival, felt that they could join in – and enjoyed themselves immensely. Others tried the many games machines for the first time, much to their great delight and for many the day’s activities certainly made them feel younger! Lucky door prizes were drawn during the day and the winning bowling seniors were awarded special recognition trophies.

The event was an outstanding success and a great multicultural celebration for seniors in Western Sydney. Visit Facebook Seniors Week 2017 Photo Album for more photos from the day!
Jeris and Elias Alkayed

A Client's Story - Jeris Alkayed

Jeris Alkayed and his family arrived in Blacktown from Syria in 2016, sponsored for humanitarian entrance by family already here. He has an adult son with disabilities and SydWest has been working with the whole family to support their successful settlement.

A key issue for Jeris was ensuring his son was able to access appropriate NDIS services and with the help of their SydWest case worker and the NDIS LAC, Elias now attends a day centre four days a week. This significant support has meant that the family can now attend English classes and access a host of other services and support available through SydWest and its partners, such as social support, allied health and counselling.

A teacher with a passion and knowledge of ancient history, mythology and the ancient world of Syria, Jeris has been keen to embrace his new country and community and share his vast knowledge and passion for the rich history and culture of Syria.

The family attended the Blacktown Syrian Welcome Picnic earlier in 2017 and Jeris was determined that he would speak at the event, to share his thanks for the safe and welcoming place that he now calls home.

In his own words:
I am Jeris Alkayed and I came from Syria with my family (wife, daughter and son). I live a peaceful life. The Australian government provided me all my needs of medical services and treatments. Also the government provided my son Elias, all the required services and financial support (through NDIS). But the happiness of my son will be completed when his brother Yousef who lives in Lebanon, comes to Australia. I want to thank the Australian Government for all that they have provided me and to my family. Also I want to thank all the workers at SydWest for their passion and hard work. (Jeris Alkayed, 7/8/17).

SydWest supports Blacktown Family Fun Day  

SydWest partnered with a large group of local community organisations to present a very special Family Fun Day on Thursday 7th September, 2017 at Blacktown Showgrounds.

More than 260 people joined in the activities and entertainment of Family Fun Day, which featured a sausage sizzle, showbags, children’s activities, information and more. Fun kids activities included face painting, jumping castles, play-dough, henna, bubbles and story time with a visit from Rooby Roo (mascot for the Paint Blacktown Read early literacy program.

The event was part of National Child Protection Week 2017 and to promote Blacktown as a safe community.

SydWest’s Families & Children - Supporting and empowering families and children

Our Community Engagement Team offer services and programs to help parents and families from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds to raise happy and healthy families... Read more

New Uniforms for Youth Sports

To celebrate our young people’s commitment to Football (for boys) and Basketball (for girls), SydWest Multicultural Services has invested in new competition-grade uniforms for our teams.

The colours represent the diversity of SydWest, where everyone belongs. Our teams will now proudly wear their new uniforms at all competition events into the future.

As part of the celebrations for the new uniforms, the Friendly Stars Girls Basketball Team wore their new uniforms for the first time at their game on 5 September 2017.

Clement Meru, Community Services & Engagement Manager

New Staff Member

Clement Meru
Community Services & Engagement Manager  

SydWest is pleased to announce that Clement Meru has joined our team. Clement brings a wealth of experience from his more than 12 years’ experience working for CORE Community Services, mostly in the Multicultural Communities (formerly Fairfield Migrant Resource Centre) and managed the service for the past four years.

He was born in Germany and returned to the Republic of South Sudan at three years of age, and settled in Australia in 2003. Prior to moving to Australia Clement’s passion to support individuals seeking a new life in other countries led him to Cairo where he taught English to refugees and asylum seekers from the Horn of Africa.

He has extensive knowledge and experience in supporting communities to establish structures to support their settlement in Australia. Clement also has nine years’ experience in the governance of small and medium sized, incorporated organisations as well as peak bodies. 
Clement played a leadership role in forums and national peak agencies.
Clement has qualifications in welfare and community sector management. He speaks English, Arabic and Moru.

Clement is passionate about community development, social justice and advocating for multicultural communities. His sporting passions include basketball, soccer and AFL.
SydWest Youth Football Team in Action

Youth Football Update

SydWest Multicultural Services has been running a Football (soccer) program for boys and young men for more than a year. In that time, they have been attending training sessions weekly at Kevin Betts Stadium in Mt Druitt and have participated in special football competitions and professional masterclass clinics with the Western Sydney Wanderers.

During 2017, our Football Team was successful in winning the Futsal Championship Cup 2017. The Tournament was held earlier this year and played at Emerton Leisure Centre as part of Youth National Week and organised by Youth Off The Streets.

SydWest had two teams participating -  one team got knocked off in the quarter final by a penalty kick after they had drawn 2 – 2 with Nagib FC. The second team was awarded Futsal Championship Cup Winner after dominating in winning all 12 games played in the tournament and after defeating Nagib FC 4 – 0 in the final.
The Top Goal Scorer for the tournament was Mr Nowres Najjar of the SydWest Multicultural Services Youth Team who received the Golden Boot trophy. Another SydWest player, Mr Ali was selected as Best Player of the tournament. It was a fantastic free event enjoyed by all participants and the winning Cup is now on display at the SydWest Mount Druitt office. Our Team will retain the Cup for the year and until next year’s tournament.
Two of SydWest's Award-winning Football Players

Upcoming Events 

Annual General Meeting 2017 – Save the Date!

SydWest Multicultural Services will be holding our Annual General Meeting 2017 on 2nd November at the Penrith Civic Centre from 5.30-7.30pm. The AGM is a highlight event on the annual calendar, an opportunity for SydWest to share its achievements over the last 12 months and present its vision for the forthcoming year.

Guest speakers for the AGM will include the Mayor of Penrith, Clr John Thain, as well as SydWest client, Dr Samer Sirri, recently arrived from Syria and currently in the process of having his surgical and medical qualifications recognised and registered for Australia.

We look forward to our partners, funding bodies, VIPs, community representatives and clients joining us for this special event and celebrating with everyone from SydWest! For further information, contact

Launch of Rouse Hill ACDS services with Min Williams

On 25th October 2017, Minister Ray Williams, NSW Minister for Multiculturalism and Disability Services will be officially launching the opening of our outreach Aged Care and Disability support services office in the region at a special morning tea event at the Rex Money Room, Vinegar Hill Memorial Community Centre, Civic Way, Rouse Hill Town Centre.

The event will include overview of our aged care and disability services and include short presentations from some of our clients in the area, who wish to tell their stories.
We are looking forward to welcoming local service providers and other VIPs, as well as community members to come hear what we can do and how we can support the existing services sector, particularly with our expertise in culturally appropriate services.

SydWest has more than 70 bilingual direct care workers providing in-home and in-community care to more than 700 aged and clients with disabilities each month. We are also looking forward to being able to respond to the needs of CALD carers in the area, who often have unique and less well-understood needs. For further information, contact

Seniors Christmas Party 2017

The Annual SydWest Seniors Christmas Party is being held Saturday 2nd December, 2017. 
We are pleased to confirm that the SAI International youth volunteers will again be coordinating the entertainment and catering for the event. In addition, all Seniors will be presented with a special Christmas Goodies Gift Hamper.

For further information, contact the Aged Care and Disability Services team on 02 9621 6633 or 
Learn more about SydWest's Services

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, Level 2, Suite 210 Rouse Hill Town Centre, 29 Main Street, Rouse Hill NSW 2155
Phone (02) 9621 6633
Copyright © 2017 SydWest Multicultural Services, All rights reserved.

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