Building Community Spirit, Bringing Cultures together.
সামাজিক মমত্রী বন্ধন সংস্কৃজির সম্মেলন
共創社區精神 匯聚各族文化
φέρνοντας και δημιουργώντας την ενότητα της κοινότητας μαζί
Creiamo uno spirito di comunità. Avviciniamo diverse culture tra di loro.
Градиме заеднички дух Ги зближуваме заедниците
Memupuk Semangat Kemasyarakatan Menyatukan Budaya
سا ز مان دادن جامعه با یک جا سا ختن فرهنگ
Creando espíritu communitario, Acercando las Culturas.
ร่วมสร้างพลังสังคม ร่วมระดมวัฒนธรรม
xây dựng tinh thần cộng đồng Kết hợp các nền văn hóa với nhau
بناء روح المجتمع و تقريب الثقافات معا



Advance Diversity Services is a community based, not for profit organisation based in Rockdale. We provide a wide range of services to communities and families residing in St George and the Sutherland Shire; with a focus on recent arrived migrants, refugees, youth, families, older people, people with disabilities and their carers.


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At ADS we provide a range of tailored services.



Advance Diversity Services (ADS) is a non-profit community organisation which has been providing support services to the Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) communities since 1981. In particularly focus on recent arrivals, families, older people, women, youth, people with disabilities and their carers living in the Hurstville, Kogarah, Rockdale and Sutherland Shire Local Government Areas. ADS provides the following services:
  • – Migrant Settlement services 
  • – Centre-based Day Care for older people
  • – Home care package for frail aged
  • – Disability Support
  • – Mental Health
  • – Carer support
  • – Family, Women and Youth Program
  • – Community Development
To be a leading multicultural organisation that through its activities enhances the independence, potential and aspirations of individuals, families and the broader community.
The values that drive our organisation are:
  • Social inclusion and opportunities for community participation for all
  • Care and respect for individuals
  • Harmony and building community resilience
  • Tolerance and acceptance of diversity
  • Working collaboratively
  • Innovation, excellence and professionalism

By Constitution the Board consists of 12 Directors – 6 office bearers and 6 ordinary members; each of whom is to be elected at the Annual General Meeting. The Office Bearers of the Board 2016-17 are:


Mikall Chong (Chairman)
Mikall is an active community based volunteer with diverse interests including welfare groups, church and environmental programs. He has many years of experience engaging with various CALD communities.

  • Rockdale City Council Citizen of the Year Award 2012
  • More than 10 years of service on Advance Diversity Services Board
  • Member of Greater Sydney Police Multicultural Advisory Committee
  • Passion for development of Rockdale for tourism opportunities


Ruth Fyfe (Vice Chairperson)

This year is her 10th year on the Advance Diversity Services Board; Ruth has extensive working experience with new arrivals in St George and Sutherland areas, as a manager with the AMEP at a local college. As a manager Ruth was also responsible for staff and financial management. Ruth holds a Graduate Diploma in Adult Education (TESOL).  


Khalil Haragli JP (Secretary)

Khalil has over 30 years’ experience in community work and 20 years in management at Advance Diversity Services and St George Joint Lebanese Committee. He worked as the Multicultural Health Officer at the South East Sydney Illawarra Area Health Service. He is one of the Foundation Member of the Migrant Resource Centre and he has been on the Board of Advance Diversity Services since 1981.  


Reg Soares JP (Vice Secretary)

  • Involved in Moorefield Estate – The Neighbourhood Watch
  • Participated in Australian Taxation Office, Tax Help at Rockdale Community Services Inc.
  • Employed by Australian Electoral Commission
  • Member of Australian Institute of Management
  • Justice of Peace since 1990


Chura Belbase (Treasurer)

Chura has been working as a President of St George and Sutherland Nepalese Community Inc. He has served as a Treasurer of Non-Resident Nepalese Association, an umbrella organisation of Nepalese living in Australia. By profession, he is a public practice accountant, CPA and a registered tax agent. He believes he can utilise his qualifications and community work experience to contribute for the betterment of Advance Diversity Services. 


Marites Bairstow (Vice Treasurer)

Her working background has been in corporate sales and marketing roles in the information technology (IT) industry for some 20+ years.  She recently left corporate to establish a training organisation with her husband, delivering professional development courses in marketing and cross cultural training workshops. She holds a Graduate Certificate in Counselling and has engaged in various church and community activities over the years. Her skills are in the area of business development and marketing; and she has a sincere commitment and desire to be of service to our multicultural community.  


Azra Ahmed

She has been a board member of the Pakistani Australian Women’s Association for the last 5 years.  She has been an active member of Sydney Alliance and their campaign for the Arncliffe railway station lift.  She was part of the SGMRC’s Permaculture project.  She is a volunteer worker for the ADS DV team –providing social and moral support.  From time to time she has assisted Advance Diversity Services as a volunteer.


Sergio Bustamante

Currently Board Member of Advance Diversity Services for 15 years, Sergio is an Honorary Ambassador of the City of Rockdale since 2002. He has contributed in the welfare of the Spanish speaking community for many years. He received the Rockdale City Council Citizen of the Year Award in 2009. He completed Certificate III in Welfare at Sydney TAFE, St George College. He is also a NSW Government authorised interview panel member.  


Dr Rifaat Hanna JP

Board Member since 2009, an Australian of Egyptian origin speaking English, Arabic, Russian and French. Professor of Environmental Sciences and Socio Economic Sciences. Rifaat has organised, presented and supervised training scholarships and conferences in Egypt, Iraq, Russian, England, Yemen, etc. on environment issues. He is involved in many activities in the Arabic/Egyptian community and was previously Chief Technical Advisor for the UN in all Middle East. He is a Justice of Peace. He has lived in the St George area for over 30 years where he is involved in multiculturalism and social justice helping new arrivals and young people from the Egyptian and Arabic community.  


Rosaline Havea 

Rosaline holds a BA of Arts and a Master in Industrial Relations and Human Resource Management. She has a strong involvement with community work particularly with the South Pacific Islander communities. Currently, she is working as a Human Resource Manager for a large non-Government organization.  


Branislav Musovski

Branislav has a long history as a volunteer. He has over 35 years’ experience with various management. He completed TAFE courses in welfare, public consulting, ethics and social welfare. He is the Management Committee member of Macedonian Australian Welfare Association. He has been awarded for his achievement by the Community Relations Commission. Branislav also has lots of experience and skills in the finance field.  


Litsa Nossar
Litsa possesses a Diploma in Community Welfare. She has a strong knowledge of the community sector and has been involved in community work for over 30 years. Currently works as settlement grant worker with Metro MRC. Litsa has sat on a number of boards as well as representing CALD communities and issues with both ethnic peak bodies e.g. Ethnic Communities’ Council of NSW and mainstream organisations and groups e.g. NSW Children’s Forum. She has worked for Federal and State Governments as well as NGOs.

  • Member of Advance Diversity Services Board for past 23 years
  • Strong committee to social justice and multiculturalism
Advance Diversity Services  commenced operations in 1981 as the St George Migrant Resource Centre following recommendations from the Galbally Report (Migrant Services and Programs, 1978) which recommended establishing migrant resource centres to meet the needs of migrant communities. The Migrant Resource Centres were intended to support ethnic and community organisations and help them play a greater role in provision of migrant welfare, to serve as a base for ethnic groups and to encourage self-managed services at the local level.
We changed our name to Advance Diversity Services in 2015. Since our establishment we have worked with different waves of migrant and refugee settlers; we assisted and advocated for the people in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) communities to enable the effective use of their skills and capacities; and thereby maximise their access to the social and economic opportunities available in the Australian community.
Advance Diversity Services is funded by various Government Departments and receives support and sponsorship from business, organisations and individuals. We would like to acknowledge the following major funding bodies and sponsors; we greatly appreciate your support.
During the last period ADS clients have benefitted greatly from the consultations, feedback sessions, needs analysis and encouraging environment with the CALD communities in general, ADS continues to achieve excellent results on regular client satisfaction surveys which support the reputation it holds as a leading multicultural organisation in the area and the sector.


2018-2019 Board of Directors Election Results Announced


A big thank you to all eleven candidates for running in this year’s Board of Directors’ election. We had a strong pool of candidates interested in serving on the board, and each candidate was passionate about ADS. We are pleased to announce the results of the election which held on 5 July 2018, winning re-election to the ADS Board of Directors was Azra Ahmed, Marites Bairstow, Chura Belbase, Ruth Fyfe, Rifaat Hanna, Khalil Haragli, Rosaline Havea, Branislav Musovski and Reginald (Reg) da Lapa-Soares. Congratulations to the nine elected 2018-2019 ADS Board of Directors.

New Indonesian Arts and Culture Club launched at ADS


A new Indonesian Arts and Culture Club (IACC) was launched at Advance Diversity Services on Sunday, July 1, by the Honourable Indonesian Consul General, Mr Heru Subolo, and his wife, Mrs Sinta Subolo.

Forty guests from Indonesian regions ranging from Aceh, Sumatra, South Sumatra, Lampung, Jakarta, Java, Sulawesi, Flores, to Papua attended the launch, which also featured beautiful Indonesian food and a display of traditional instruments.

The IACC aims to showcase the assets and talents within the culturally rich and diverse Indonesian diaspora living in the Bayside area.

It will also provide a much-needed community space for Indonesian islanders from all faith and culture groups to come together through the common thread of arts and culture.

Notable community leaders that attended the launch included Endi Dharma from Indonesian Community Council, Firdaus Muis from South Sulawesi and John Hardjono from Indonesian Rockdale Saturday Club.

Mirna Yusuf, ADS’ dance teacher from South Sulawesi, performed a traditional welcome dance called ‘Pa’duppa’ in beautiful traditional dress.

Such welcoming dances, in which guests are showered with loose flowers and confetti, are common throughout Indonesia and show the deep respect Indonesian people have for their guests.

Ms Yusuf’s performance also highlights the club’s commitment to ensuring the traditional dances and instrumental skills of the Indonesian people are passed on to younger generations in a fun environment. She will teach ‘Pa’duppa’ to all interested IACC members when the club opens on July 29.

Theresia Tomahu, the club’s president, and Andi Dwipasatya, the ADS community worker worked hard to ensure the launch was a great success.

The club is a community-driven initiative made possible by a ‘Doing it Differently’ grant awarded to ADS by Bayside Council and NSW Health.

Mr Subolo said he was very grateful that ADS had assisted the Indonesian community to get the grant, which would provide a vital meeting point in the region.

‘We’re excited to launch the club,’ said Ms Dwipasatya, ‘as it offers Indonesian people in our area the chance to share our cultural heritage, and pass it on to the next generation. We’ll also enjoy the opportunity to meet new friends, and forge closer ties.’

The club will be open every Sunday from 2–5 pm at ADS in Rockdale. To register your interest, please contact Andi Dwipasatya on (02) 9597 5355.

Communicate Connect Collaborate


Come join us for our networking event, Communicate Connect Collaborate to be held on Tuesday 24 July 2018! Jointly organised by the St George Multicultural Network and the Sutherland Shire Multicultural Network, this informal afternoon event is an opportunity to make new connections with other services working with the multicultural community in the area.

Please click here to register:

Get Active offers youth a healthy start


Sporting activities combined with health-related information sessions can improve the health, wellbeing and social connectivity of culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) young people including those who are newly arrived.

This finding is detailed in two recently released reports from the Get Active Project funded by Multicultural Health, South Eastern Sydney Local Health District (SESLHD) and rolled out by Advance Diversity Services.

‘Research results from ADS’s Get Active Project offer valuable insights into the health and wellbeing needs of CALD and newly arrived young people in our region’ said Anthony Scerri, Program Manager of Settlement and Community Services and Youth Services Team Leader with Advance Diversity Services.

Mr Scerri presented Get Active findings at the Youth Health: Promoting Empowerment, Wellbeing and Safety Research to Practice Forum in Surry Hills, Sydney, on April 10.

The forum was organised by the Priority Populations Unit – SESLHD to showcase the latest research on the experience of young people accessing health services, and to highlight best-practice programs across the region for engaging vulnerable and at-risk young people.

‘I was invited to speak at the forum because Get Active is seen as a good example of a successful locally based project,’ Mr Scerri said. ‘Our aim was to improve the health, wellbeing and social participation of CALD and newly arrived young people through sports and information sessions – and Get Active achieved this.

‘Our results will also help local youth and health services providers in the St George region to target their services to ensure young people receive the support and information they need to foster their health and wellbeing.’

Get Active roll out

ADS received funding from the South Eastern Sydney Local Health District (SESLHD) Multicultural Health Grants Program: Healthy Communities Project to coordinate the project.

This included organising a series of table tennis clinics combined with health-related information sessions at Kogarah Intensive English Centre (KIEC) and the ADS Youth Club. It also incorporated a regional table tennis tournament held at Hurstville Aquatic Centre in partnership with St George and Sutherland Shire Table Tennis Association and Table Tennis NSW.

Throughout these activities ADS and other project partners gathered young people’s perspectives on a range of health-related issues, including the features they’d most like to see in the health services targeted to support them. Their feedback is documented in the Get Active project reports along with details of audits conducted by Health Promotion SESLHD (a project partner) to promote healthy environments for young people at the ADS offices in Rockdale (where the ADS Youth Club meets regularly) and the Kogarah High School Canteen. Since the Get Active Project ended, ADS has also funded weekly sport sessions at Beverly Hills Intensive English Centre, and KIEC has approached ADS to offer table tennis sessions.

The success of Get Active’s Youth Health Forum held in June 2017 led to a recommendation that similar forums be held in the St George region every two years. ADS Youth Worker, Salvin Kumar, will meet with service providers soon to prepare for a second youth health forum in 2019.

In his day-to-day work, Mr Kumar provides information about racism, bullying, exams and other issues of concern identified by young people involved in the project, and asks relevant services to provide sessions for youth on these issues. The Get Active reports also recommend that local services provide targeted information to CALD and newly arrived young people on these topics.

‘We’re pleased that after taking part in the Get Active health and exercise sessions the majority of Get Active participants felt their knowledge about healthy food, healthy relationships, being active, accessing GPs and using interpreters had increased’ said Mr Scerri.‘Their confidence in pursuing sporting activities had also improved.

‘These outcomes support evidence from the Centre for Multicultural Youth (CMY) and Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIWH) in relation to the overall health and social benefits of recreational and educational projects,’ he said.

‘ADS will continue to build on these findings – to create programs that meet young people’s needs and can give them timely, accessible and relevant support.’


Read the reports now …

Project Report – Get Active CALD Youth Project 2015-2017:  | Youth Health & Wellbeing Consultations – July 2017:


Get Active participant backgrounds

Young people involved in the project came from diverse family and cultural backgrounds including: Thai, Russian, Chinese (not specified), Mandarin, Vietnamese,
Nepali, Malay, Greek, Hindi/Punjabi, Arabic, English, Bangladesh, Burmese, Cypriot, Egyptian, Indonesian, Iranian, Iraqi, Mongolian,  Pakistani, 
Palestinian, Peruvian, Filipino,
Syrian and Yemeni.

Get Active project partners

Advance Diversity Services including its Youth Club, 
Beverly Hills Intensive English Centre, Directorate Planning, Population Health and Equity – SESLHD, headspace Hurstville and Miranda, 
Kogarah Intensive English Centre, Multicultural Health Service – SESLHD
Primary Integrated and Community Health – SESLHD,
St George and Sutherland Shire Table Tennis Association, and St George Youth Services.

New Intergenerational dance augments health message: Screening Save Lives


Advance Diversity Services (ADS) in partnership with NSW Health, not only helped create in language resources to encourage health screening for their emerging Bangladeshi and Nepalese communities – they also choreographed a new dance to reinforce the message that ‘taking care of yourself is the best way to take care of your family’.

Screening Saves Lives is a collection of video and print resources in community languages, including Bengali and Nepali, to show women and families from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities how easy it is to participate in cervical, breast and bowel cancer screening. These resources were launched at the Screening Saves Lives event on April 8.

The Living a Life dance was performed by three generations of Nepalese women – the Nepalese children’s cultural dance group, their mothers and their grandmothers.  This intergenerational dance explores the experience of being a migrant woman, and integrates this with the universal experiences of joy, happiness, relationships, identity, loss and adventure.  It features a vibrant mix of facial expressions and dance moves.  It was choreographed and directed by the talented Anjeela BK (dance instructor at ADS) and Merry Manadhar (dancer and active volunteer at ADS), with the support Gaya Dharmagesan of the Women’s Health program in the South Eastern Sydney Local Health District. A Bangladeshi children’s dance group also performed at the event.

Magdaline Shenton-Kaleido, Team Leader for Emerging Communities at ADS, said that Screening Saves Lives’ partners incorporated dancing into the launch because arts programs and activities had been shown to make significant contributions to health outcomes, and encouraging participation.

“The NSW Government’s Health and the Arts Framework supports an arts- and culture-based approach to health promotion,” she said. “In this case, we believed the Nepalese and Bangladeshi dances would augment the project’s message that by participating in breast and cervical health checks, women can improve their chances of living a long and healthy life.”

Screening Saves Lives received funding support from the Cancer Institute NSW. Project partners included South Eastern Sydney Local Health District (SESLHD) Priority Populations Unit, Central and Eastern Sydney PHN (CESPHN) and Advance Diversity Services.  Importantly, Bengali and Nepali speaking community members assisted in co-designing and developing the resources.

Find the resources here:

Screening Saves Lives – South Asian Community in English


Screening Saves Lives – Nepalese in English


Screening Saves Lives – spoken in Nepali


Screening Saves Lives – Bangladeshi in English


Screening Saves Lives – spoken in Bengali

Get Active Project Reports


Advance Diversity Services has been working with South Eastern Sydney Local Health District Multicultural Health Service (MHS) on the Get Active Project, delivered in Sydney’s St George Region. The below reports outline the aims and deliverables of the Project. They draw attention to the improved outcomes relating to health, wellbeing and social connectivity via participation in sporting activities and information sessions for young people who are newly arrived and/or from CALD backgrounds.

Project Report – Get Active CALD Youth Project 2015-2017:

Youth Health & Wellbeing Consultations – July 2017:

ADS needs young people to shape the future they’d like to see


Advance Diversity Services (ADS) is looking for young people aged 15 to 24 to be part of its new Youth Reference Group. You’ll help drive social change on issues that matter to you – while developing leadership and professional skills for your future career and studies. Jenny Tang, Multicultural Youth Worker for the Settlement and Community Services Program of ADS, explains why you should consider being part of the team.

What prompted you to set up this new Youth Reference Group? What’s the need for it?

As a team working with young people from culturally diverse backgrounds, we want to give young people a voice in the community so that their ideas and opinions are heard on the issues that affect them. We want to be able to consult with young people to make sure that our own work at ADS truly reflects their concerns and needs, but is also informed by the strengths they bring. We want to equip young people with the skills and the knowledge to become leaders and to achieve the change that they want to see.

Have you seen something like this working effectively elsewhere? 

The Multicultural Youth Advocacy Network has a Multicultural Youth Ambassadors Program, which also aims to give young people a voice and equips them with skills to advocate on the issues they care about. It’s a great program.

What can happen through this channel that might not happen effectively without it? 

Without this group, we would not be able to consistently consult young people regarding our programs and initiatives. We might miss out on some wonderful ideas for advocacy or community engagement that a fresh and young perspective can offer us.

What freedom will the young people have to set their own agenda? 

Youth Reference Group members will have the freedom to work collaboratively to come up with their own ‘constitution’ of sorts, under the guidance of the Youth Workers. They will be able to choose the issues they feel passionate about, and put forth their own ideas about how to best tackle them. Of course, these must be subject to standards regarding respect for other political, religious, and personal beliefs.

How will what the young people decide feed into ADS’s or other local community or broader decision-making? 

ADS is part of several youth interagency networks including the St George Youth Network, Sutherland Shire Youth Network, Multicultural Youth Advocacy Network, and SSI’s Youth Collective. ADS also  often participates in advocacy and other policy work. The members’ ideas, concerns and decisions will be fed through these platforms to give them the widest audience possible. Members may also have the chance to attend conferences and speak at events.

Are there youth issues that need to be addressed in ADS’s catchment area in terms of external funding or government policy change that won’t find traction without the voices of young people getting behind them? 

It’s hard to pinpoint specific issues, but we know that proposals that come with evidence that’s based on consultation with the target group will certainly find more traction.

What’s the incentive for young people to get involved?

There will definitely be opportunities to develop leadership and professional skills such as public speaking, grant writing, project coordination, and meeting and networking with new people. We’re also hoping members will find it rewarding to be making a difference on important issues. These are all things that they can later put on their resumes to help with their future career. Oh, and there will be snacks at the meetings and fun team building activities every now and then (such as rock climbing). Incentive enough, we believe!

How do young people apply?

For more information and to get your application form, please email us at [email protected] or call Jenny or Salvin on (02) 9597 5455. Applicants must live, work or study in the St George or Sutherland Shire areas, be aged 15 to 24, and be from a culturally diverse background. Applications close April 22, 2018.

Regional forum yields insights for statewide NDIS discussion


More than 70 people, and many from Culturally and Linguistically (CALD) backgrounds, contributed to a round-table discussion about their experiences with the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) at Marana Hall in Hurstville on February 21.

Settlement Services International (SSI) and Advance Diversity Services (ADS) co-hosted the discussion, which brought together local people with disabilities from CALD backgrounds; local CALD organisations and leaders; local mainstream disability services; representatives from the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA); and NDIS Local Area Coordinators (LACs).

The aim of the forum was to identify issues that local people with a disability from CALD backgrounds have encountered with the NDIS, and to discuss solutions.

The group was divided into six tables to ensure the challenges people faced with the NDIS were voiced and noted.

Major issues identified included: a lack of understanding of how NDIS works; insufficient NDIS funds available to purchase the required services; and problems with navigating approved services.

Findings from the forum will feed into a statewide DiverseAbility: NDIS Inclusion conference to be run by SSI at the Novotel in Parramatta on April 19.

This one-day conference was prompted by research conducted by SSI’s FutureAbility project, which found that people from CALD backgrounds with disabilities are noticeably under-represented in the existing disability service and support systems in Australia, despite having similar disability rates as the Australian-born, English speaking population.

This is the first time in New South Wales that CALD and disability experts, practitioners, CALD NDIS users, and community groups and members will meet to identify ways to improve the participation of people with disabilites from CALD backgrounds in the NDIS – to achieve a better quality of life and increased economic and social participation.

People with disabilities and their carers are invited to attend DiverseAbility free of charge.

For more information and to register visit

ADS says “You’re Welcome” on Harmony Day


Advance Diversity Services’ (ADS) Settlement and Community Services staff will coordinate a ‘messages of welcome’ activity – inviting people to offer greetings of inclusivity, diversity and hope at Georges River Council’s Harmony Day celebration in Hurstville on March 21.

ADS staff members have prepared more than 300 templates people can personalise with meaningful messages to help foster harmony across the community. These expressions of welcome will be displayed in a common area at Marana Auditorium—reinforcing the region’s and ADS’s commitment to openness and unity.

Key settlement information for new arrivals will also be available at the ADS stall, including information about housing, employment, training, recreational activities and case-work services.

People of all ages and cultures are invited to celebrate Harmony Day in Hurstville, which will feature henna hand painting, children’s activities, and multicultural stalls and food tasting.

The free Georges River Council Harmony Day celebration is on Wednesday March 21, from 10 am to 1 pm at Marana Auditorium, MacMahon Street, Hurstville.






552 Princes Highway

Rockdale NSW 2216

Business Hours

Monday to Friday 9am to 4pm

TEL: (02) 9597 5455

FAX: (02) 9567 3326

Email: [email protected]

Postal Address

PO Box 381

Rockdale NSW 2216

Getting Here

By Train: catch the train to Rockdale station.  From here our office is an easy 5 minute walk