I feel that a great burden has fallen off my shoulders and that feeling of depression is gone. You have helped me make that positive step toward the future and given me a sense of hope.
The Forum of Australian Services for Survivors of Torture and Trauma (FASSTT) expresses its profound concern that the Australian Border Force Act 2015 has created a serious criminal offence for people providing services to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) to publicly disclose information about damaging effects of government policy on individuals in detention and other asylum seekers.
Many of you may have heard, or seen reports in the media, about the incident that took place at STARTTS last week, where two of our staff members were attacked outside our Carramar office. Everyone here was obviously very shocked and upset about the incident, and concerned for the welfare of their colleagues. The good news is that both women are now doing very well, and are set to make a full recovery.
Young children who have experienced trauma will now be able to benefit from one of STARTTS’ most successful projects combatting trauma in early childhood. Thanks to funding from the Commonwealth Bank at Fairfield, STARTTS is revamping the popular ‘Monkey Tales’ program which has proved very successful in helping children in their recovery from trauma.
Urban SmARTS brought together many of STARTTS’ ongoing youth arts projects in a vibrant celebration and showcase of STARTTS’ arts programs with young people. On the 8th of August Powerhouse Youth Theatre (PYT) in Fairfield played host to an exciting array of youth-led projects using artistic activities to build connections between refugee young people and to overcome trauma.
The ‘Recharge Conference’, organised by Y Foundations and held on August 7th, was a chance to re-energise the conversation on youth homelessness. The two day program included presentations from nationwide peak services and agencies involved in working with vulnerable youth affected by homelessness. STARTTS’ Training Officer, Belinda Green was invited to speak about the needs and experiences of refugee young people.
“It was 6:30 in the morning when I arrived on the banks of the Nepean River in Penrith. The grass was still wet with the morning dew, and the smell of incense wafted from the river bank. I was there to witness an event called Benja– the Creation of Life – that few Sydneysiders ever get to see, unless you are a member of the local Mandaean community…
Every year STARTTS in conjunction with partner organisations organises the launch of Refugee Week – the week surrounding World Refugee Day on 20 June. The event aims to highlight the importance of refugee issues and celebrate the resilience, talents and achievements of refugees in NSW. For more information about what’s on during Refugee Week: www.refugeeweek.org.au
Launching Refugee Week 2015: With courage let us all combine
Refugee Week celebrates the great contribution that refugees make to enrich Australian society. On Friday 12 June 2015, STARTTS launched Refugee Week 2015 together with the Refugee Council of Australia, Settlement Services International and Illawarra Multicultural Services, with Janice Petersen from SBS as the MC. For the first time ever, the launch event was held in the Illawarra, a major population centre of NSW.
In response to the rapidly growing number of refugees settling in Greater Western Sydney, STARTTS opened a new office in Blacktown to help us reach refugees in this area.
Officially opened by the Mayor of Blacktown, Cr Alan Pendleton, and attended by many local service providers, the Launch was a reminder of the great need for expanded refugee services in this part of Sydney.