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.
STARTTS was proud to host the previous NSW Minister for Mental Health Pru Goward at our Carramar office. During her visit, the Minister took the opportunity find out more about the work of STARTTS and the services we offer to our clients. STARTTS CEO Jorge Aroche shared with her the work of STARTTS staff in helping our clients with both psychological and settlement issues.
They also discussed the increased demand for STARTTS services that will result from the increased humanitarian intake from Syria. Mr Aroche Aroche expects the number of clients to increase by 20 per cent this year. To accommodate the extra demand for services STARTTS has been given increased funding of $2.7 million, employing an extra 17 staff, including two dedicated child counsellors.
Ms Goward also took the opportunity to meet with several of STARTTS’ clients and to hear their stories. Clients told her of the help and services that STARTTS offered them, and how this has helped them in their journey to become productive and thriving members of the community.
The Minister was also presented with a token of appreciation form the Mandaean community in Sydney.
The community also presented CEO Jorge Aroche with a token of thanks in the form of a silver handmade STARTTS logo, in appreciation of the support that STARTTS has provided.
You can read more about STARTTS and the visit by Pru Goward here.