NFP Collaboration Needed to Assist Migrant Women
3 November 2016 at 3:53 pm
The not-for-profit sector needs to work more collaboratively to address the significant challenges faced by migrant women in Australia, according to social sector leader and CEO of Settlement Services International Violet Roumeliotis.
As an organiser of the inaugural National Multicultural Women’s Conference 2016, being held in Sydney, and a member of Pro Bono Australia’s Impact 25, Roumeliotis said the event was an opportunity to bring together a diversity of voices to have a frank discussion around some key areas and deliver some collective solutions.
“The conference is well overdue and I think we recognise for everyday Australians there are a range of opportunities and challenges but if you are an immigrant or CALD woman if you are newly arrived or refugee there are additional challenges that need to be recognised so that they can be addressed,” Roumeliotis told Pro Bono Australia News.
“I think the sector needs to be saying these are significant issues for our sector but we want to engage with the broader community to address these because we believe they are issues that are relevant to many Australians.
“We need to find a way that we can move towards some significant outcomes. So maybe not having an an ambitious agenda but picking one or two key things and saying how can we collaborate, how can we partner, how can we shift the conversation and how can we look at this differently and reframe it. At the end of the day we want to bring a stronger, well-balanced civil society.”
She said it was important to see that migrant women were supported to be able to understand and have access to information about their responsibilities and their rights.
“We have to move away from the ‘stick-based’ approach… rather than looking at the deficit looking and the strengths and building on those because the great majority of people come with great capacities,” she said.
“Instead of a stick offer a carrot and think that recognising that these women don’t have the same opportunities.”
Roumeliotis said her organisation was currently focusing on opportunities to employment.
“There are a lot of economic opportunities for people to integrate through employment. We are focusing on showcasing examples where we have had refugee women who have been in the country for less than a year start up their own businesses and make a living… and so far we have assisted 66 refugees start up their own businesses.”
She said she hoped the conference created a platform for decision makers, practitioners and community members to address challenges facing multicultural women, inform the national agenda and celebrate the efforts of outstanding women.
The National Multicultural Women’s Conference is a partnership between Settlement Services International and the Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia, with support from Ethnic Communities’ Council of NSW.
Roumeliotis was named in Pro Bono Australia’s Impact 25 in both 2014 and 2015 as a significant influencer in the not-for-profit sector.
Nominations are now open for 2016’s Impact 25.
Please use the twitter hashtag #2016Impact25 to promote your choice.