SSI Foundation to Launch Education Scholarships
11 August 2015 at 11:10 am
One of Australia’s largest Not for Profit humanitarian organisations, Settlement Services International (SSI) will announce education scholarships later this week for refugees and asylum seekers worth $60,000 as part of the launch of the new SSI Foundation.
Formerly known as the Connect Australia Foundation, SSI said the new Foundation introduces more categories of support and increased amounts of funding.
“As the philanthropic arm of SSI – the SSI Foundation will provide targeted support through education scholarships and grants programs to people from a refugee background to support their successful transition into the Australian community,” SSI CEO Violet Roumeliotis said.
“SSI’s aim is to minimise the impact of structural disadvantage felt by those seeking refuge in Australia by increasing their access to education, employment and community infrastructure.
“The SSI Foundation will complement its work in humanitarian settlement, accommodation, asylum seeker assistance, foster care, disability support and employment services.”
Roumeliotis said that typically in the earlier years, refugees living in Australia face many challenges, such as financial hardship, dealing with experiences of torture and trauma, and family separation.
“Australia has a long history of providing successful settlement outcomes for refugees, many of whom have gone on to make important civil, social and economic contributions to our society,” she said.
“The SSI Foundation aims to continue that tradition by providing targeted scholarships and grant support to those most in need and facing social and economic challenges.”
In the first year the SSI Foundation will provide 36 education scholarships throughout NSW for eligible primary school, high school and tertiary students (including university, vocational and skills recognition).
SSI said there will be a comprehensive suite of grant opportunities for arts and culture, health and wellbeing, settlement innovation and sponsorships in community support and engagement as the foundation develops.
“The SSI Foundation’s Education Scholarships are intended to help minimise the financial barriers experienced by refugees and asylum seekers as they participate in the NSW education system,” Roumeliotis said.
“Although the scholarships will not fully fund an individual’s degree or schooling, they will be a significant contribution for many. A scholarship from the SSI Foundation may be just enough to remove that final financial barrier and allow a refugee an opportunity for a suitable education.
“This is just the start; there is more to come.”
The foundation will be launched by 2014 Australian Human Rights Medal winner Dorothy Hoddinott AO, who, as principal of Holroyd High School in western Sydney, has guided hundreds of refugee and asylum-seeking children to become model citizens.
Read Violet Roumeliotis’ Opinion article HERE