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.

Thank you for supporting our work. Every donation, whether large or small, helps us in our work of providing services and support to people who have survived terrible and traumatic experiences.

Your donation will help us to provide more comprehensive services to the people that need them most, particularly children, young people and older refugees.

STARTTS uses to process our donations – it is a secure, quick and easy way to make sure your donation goes straight to where it is needed most.
Click on the link below to get started:

Thank you for your support. If you would like more information about making a donation,
please phone 02 9794 1900 or email


Humanitarian Awards 2016

Hum 7This year the panel of judges included management from STARTTS and the Refugee Council of Australia. And the Awards went to…

Best Project

Turkan Aksoy (Bankstown City Council)

Youth StepUP was developed as a partnership with local organisation to support refugee and migrant youth.  Youth StepUP focuses on providing a cultural bridge into the Australian Labour Market, equipping refugee and migrant youth with the tools they need to find their way in this sometimes complicated system they need to navigate. The primary aim is to strengthen soft skills development in young job seekers increasing their opportunities to attain employment. Youth StepUP aims to increase awareness amongst local community groups about educational and training opportunities. By familiarising them with key players in the work environment such as Unions, Human Resources, Industrial relations and other departments that can assist them, they become empowered in their journey. Youth StepUp also provides opportunities of youth to attain employable soft skills such as body language, presentation skills and cultural awareness training.Youth StepUP will endeavor to bring any current updates on training in soft skills, cultural awareness, communication skills and educational support through this webpage and our Apps.

Youth StepUP will endeavour to bring any current updates on training in soft skills, cultural awareness, communication skills and educational support through this webpage and our Apps. We will also provide links to appropriate employment support sites.

This innovative Project now supports over 5
00+ local refugee youth in Western Suburbs and is viewed in over 79 Countries worldwide. Connecting refugee providers and services directly to young people who at times struggles to engage.  The project is one of a kind and addresses a gap in the sector.  Youth StepUP was created as a direct result of high unemployment rates amongst youth in Bankstown. The youth unemployment rate in Sydney’s east is only 4.1 per cent, while Canterbury-Bankstown in the west is the city’s worst-affected area, with an unemployment rate of 19.1 per cent for people aged 15-24. The national youth unemployment rate is 11.6 per cent, compared with a national unemployment rate of 5.5 per cent. The project provides direct training to job seekers from refugee backgrounds and incorporates their specific needs regarding employment and educational pathways


Green Camel

An integrated fish and crop farm located in Western Sydney. Using organic farming techniques,  the team pride themselves on nurturing the crops and fish at Green Camel so when picked they are of top quality and freshness.

The farm employing refugees, tailoring employment to suit single parents (former women at risk) promoting from within provision of English programs and translated materials.

Legal and Government

Alanna Maycock

Alanna, Refugee Coordinator at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, helps assess and treat refugee health and wellbeing, including screening for diseases, malnutrition, wounds from torture or violence, mental health, and immunisation.

The Refugee Clinic, established in 2005, is seeing increasing numbers of refugee families and has tripled the number of children receiving health screenings.



Abdul Karim Hekmat

Bringing humanity back to the people who have been dehumanised by the policies of our Government, by telling his own story of persecution and asylum, and shining a light on the most grave indecencies the current system has caused to innocent people, who came here seeking only safety and protection

As a leader in his community, in his commitment to shine a light on the personal horrors that have been caused by the policy of mandatory, indefinite detention, as a board member for the Refugee Council of Australia, as an advocate for peace, as a man committed to standing up for those who are downtrodden and as a champion for truth, compassion and justice for those without power, Abdul is unparalleled.

Community Worker

Awatif Al Khalmashi

Awatif has a long history of community development with the Mandaean community. She has held a number of roles including as President of the Mandaean Women’s Association a role she held from 2010 to 2013. Before that she was a member of the MWA Committee from 2006. During that time she was instrumental in obtaining a number of grants for the MWA including from the Law & Justice Foundation for a monthly visit from a lawyer to explain aspects of Australian law; from Fairfield Council for a museum exhibition on Mandaean culture; from Dept of Sport & Recreation for swimming, acqua aerobics, gym training for the women; from Community Relations Commission for a New Year’s celebration to which members of Vietnamese and Assyrian communities were invited.

Awatif has also been an important member of the FICT facilitator team, seeking out members of the Mandaean and broader Arabic speaking communities to join FICT groups. In the past six years Awatif has facilitated more than 15 groups. She has recently also been trained as an Older people in Cultural transition (OPICT) facilitator and has run numerous groups for older members of her community. In addition she is an experienced Bilingual Community Educator (BCE) for NSW Health delivering at least two programs a year numerous programs for Arabic speaking women since 2007.

She is a representative of the Mandaean Associations Union.

At the heart of all these activities is Awatif’s deep commitment to helping members of her community to overcome their stress and trauma, reduce their social isolation, celebrate their culture, learn about Australian culture and enjoy themselves.

Hum 44


Anne and Rob Porter (JRS volunteers)

Two of our longest serving and hardest working volunteers are Anne and Rob Porter, who have been volunteering with Jesuit Refugee Service for more than 6 years, supporting asylum seekers living in the community.  During this time, Anne has served as a Volunteer Coordinator (focussing on the Blaiket Shelter and JRS head office) interviewing and placing volunteers, rostering cooks for the shelter house meetings, and ensuring that volunteers feel supported.  While Rob has served as House Manager for the Blaiket Shelter, running house meetings, fixing maintenance issues, and providing support and friendship to the many asylum seekers who have passed through our doors.

As JRS services have expanded to include 2 drop-in spaces in Parramatta, Anne has also taken on the role of Receptionist for our Friday RACS Legal Clinic and Rob has taken on more responsibilities at the shelter.

Anne and Rob are a phenomenal couple.  Their dedication and commitment to JRS continues to amaze and inspire staff and clients.  There is no task that is beyond them and there are very few occasions when they are unavailable to help, with Rob often taking calls after hours when people have locked themselves out their rooms at the men’s shelter or when there is an urgent maintenance issue to attend to.

In addition to their dedication, it is Anne and Rob’s compassion and kindness that is truly exceptional.  They are both passionate about the rights of asylum seekers, including the right to live with dignity and to be treated as equals.  One of the fundamental principles and approaches of JRS is that of accompaniment, or journeying with people. In accompanying the people we work with, JRS recognises and acknowledges their humanity, a collective human condition that is often overlooked in asylum seekers by the people, institutions and policies they encounter as they progress on their journeys.  Anne and Rob fully embody this principle in their interactions and support for the people we serve.

Rural and Regional

Alex Riske

Alex Riske is an English as an Additional Language (EAL) teacher at Orara High School, Coffs Harbour in regional New South Wales. He’s a humble, hardworking individual who passionately goes above and beyond to support students. In particular, Alex has put countless hours into producing 2 incredible projects in 2012 and 2015 that have allowed refugee students’ artistic potential to shine. Both projects: “Before today and forever” and “Original Spirit – Inner Worlds” brought to light inspiring artwork and powerful personal stories of refugee students from the Coffs Harbour area. Alex exhibited the students’ artwork at the Bunker Gallery, co-ordinated entertaining, culturally diverse opening nights with student performances and produced 2 magnificent books featuring these projects. In 2016, Alex is working on a new project “Gunganbu” (Gumbayngirr for a special place of belonging) which is an end of year concert with refugee, Indigenous and disabled students performances in celebration of their sense of connection to Galambirla (Coffs Harbour). Alex is a truly inspiring educator who would be a well deserving recipient of an award such as this.

Hum 55


LEAP (Macquarie Mentoring program)

The LEAP – Macquarie Mentoring (Refugee Mentoring) program engages volunteer university student mentors, many of whom themselves come from refugee and migrant backgrounds, who are matched with high school students from refugee backgrounds for weekly peer to peer mentoring sessions in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere in the schools.

A flexible three-part framework allows mentors to tailor the program to the individual needs and interests of their mentees in exploring opportunities available in Australian higher education, covering topics such as goal setting, time management, career pathways and the university environment , run over 11 weeks per semester.   Mentors receive intensive training in working with adolescents from refugee backgrounds, intercultural communication and coaching skills, and are supported by program coordinators throughout.  The program also engages parents and caregivers of the students, and all participants visit the University campus for a fun-filled celebration each semester.

Through mentoring, the program aims to broaden the aspiration of students and support their investigation of, and successful transition into, higher education. As this is a needs based program the areas of focus are mentee led with the overall aim of the program to:

  1. Develop confidence, resilience and agency
  2. Develop study and research skills
  3. Broaden aspirations towards further study
  4. Develop awareness of school and university cultures in the Australian context
  5. Empower students to make informed decisions about educational pathways

To date 987 high school students from refugee backgrounds have benefitted from participation in the program.


Football United

Football United uses the magic of football to bring people together for the common goal of creating harmonious and cohesive societies. We aim to build capacity of communities and improve the skills of people in diverse areas that includes high proportions of refugee, migrant and Indigenous Australian children, youth and families.



Piath Machut

Piath Machut is a great role model to the South Sudanese Youth, she is actively involved in organising and preparing events in the South Sudanese community, she devotes a lot of her time serving her community. An example of this would be her tireless efforts to continue running the Dinka women’s support group. After a church service one afternoon some women in the community approached Piath and made her aware of some of some of the issues they are currently facing in hope that she may be able to help. This resulted in Piath starting the Dinka women’s support group which she does voluntarily once a month. Volunteering once a week at STARTTS enables her to successfully run the group. This support group is an opportunity for the Dinka women to come together and discuss an issue that they are currently facing such as generational gap, cross-cultural strains, health and budgeting and finance. This is has also provided a great opportunity to create awareness and encourage social cohesion within the community. As South Sudanese women from all tribes are welcome to come and socialise and have their voices and opinions heard as well as have their questions answered.

The nominations for the 2016 Humanitarian Awards are now open. The awards will be presented at the NSW launch of Refugee Week 2016 on 17 June 2016. 

The Humanitarian Awards are your chance to nominate someone who deserves to be recognised for their excellent work supporting refugees, in whatever field they happen to be working in.

Every year STARTTS holds the Humanitarian Awards to acknowledge and thank those people who have made an exceptional positive contribution towards refugee issues in NSW. Individuals and organisations in various fields who are doing outstanding work to support refugees are eligible for the Awards.

Over the years, the Humanitarian Awards have honoured community leaders, youth workers, lawyers, journalists, teachers and many more – each of them making an incredible contribution to improving the lives of refugees.

In 2016, awards will be presented in the following categories:

Refugee community worker

Refugee supporter



Government and Legal



Rural and Regional


Best project

What do these categories mean?

If you have a nominee in mind, but you’re not sure which category to nominate them for, have a look at the category explanations below. Also, don’t forget that you can nominate people in up to three categories.

Category Explanations

Refugee Community Worker

A former refugee working on refugee issues with their own or other refugee communities, in either a paid or unpaid position

Refugee Supporter

A member of the broader Australian community, of any background, supporting and assisting refugees in any capacity, in either a paid or unpaid position


Schools, Universities and other educational institutions, or individuals working at such institutions, who assist former refugees by breaking down barriers to education


A young person aged 12-25 of refugee background making an outstanding contribution to Australian society in their chosen field

Government and Legal

Individuals or organisations from the government or legal sectors working to advise, assist or support asylum seekers or refugees


Media outlets, journalists or media officers supporting, prioritising and/or raising awareness of refugee issues


Sports organisations or projects working with, assisting or supporting refugees

Rural and Regional

Organisations or individuals working in regional areas of NSW to assist refugees


Small or large businesses employing, assisting, established/run by or in any other way supporting refugees

Best Project

An outstanding project working with or assisting refugees. The project can be run by an individual, group or organisation, and can either be ongoing or completed during the last year.

Essential info

Who can be nominated for a Humanitarian Award?

Anyone can be nominated for an Award, as long as their work with or for refugees is worthy of recognition and falls within one of the ten award categories.  Nominees can be individuals, organisations or specific projects.

Who can nominate?

Anyone can nominate another individual, organisation or project for an Award. An individual may also nominate themselves.

How do I make a nomination?

Start by downloading the Humanitarian Awards 2016 Info Sheet to read more information about the Awards. Then make a nomination by either:

1. Completing the online nomination form

2. Downloading the Word document Humanitarian Awards 2016 Nomination Form, complete, and return to STARTTS.

What do we want to know?

The Nomination Form is very easy to fill out and you’ll find all the info there, but in a nutshell we want to know:

  1. What work has the nominee undertaken to support refugees?
  2. Why is this work an exceptional contribution to the field, above and beyond other people or projects?

When do nominations close?

Nominations for this year’s Awards closed Friday 20 May 2016.