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

WELCOME

 

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.

 

Check out our new Facebook Page

SERVICES

At ADS we provide a range of tailored services.

 

ABOUT US

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.

NEWS

Refugee resilience featured in Facebook Live event

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Advance Diversity welcomed 86 people to a Facebook Live Refugee Week event hosted jointly with Georges River Council and the Refugee Advice and Casework Service (also known as RACS) on June 18.

Three local refugees shared their lived experience in short films shown during the event. Hani from Somalia said the past was tragic but she was glad she’d made it to Australia where she was now studying journalism so she could ‘tell unheard stories’. Ebad from Afghanistan said he had not been safe from the Taliban, so he fled to Australia in 2013, where he was no longer in danger but missed his family. Sajeda, a Rohingya refugee originally from Burma, said she’d delivered 46 boxes of food to needy people during COVID-19, and her dream was to set up a Rohingya Women’s Organisation.

The films were made by cinematographer Bebi Zekirovski and his wife Liz Zekirovski who had visited the world’s largest refugee camp in Bangladesh in late 2019. They said seeing the resilience of the people who had journeyed from Myanmar to the camp where day-to-day living still held myriad difficulties had been ‘life-changing’.

Hannah Gray, a Senior Solicitor at RACS, spoke of the challenges for refugees who arrive by boat to Australia. Refugees on Temporary Protection Visas were particularly vulnerable, she said, and this had been exacerbated by COVID-19.

Ms Gray outlined practical ways people could provide refugees with support, which included listening to people with lived experience and raising awareness through sharing positive stories. People could also donate to RACS and sign the RACS petition calling for the urgent expansion of financial support during COVID-19 to include refugees and people seeking asylum.

‘Thousands of people are facing extreme poverty and destitution because they are unable to access critical support,’ she said.

The petition calls for three changes to ensure Australia’s most vulnerable receive support and that the nation is ready to grow and rebuild once the COVID-19 crisis is over. They are: financial support for people seeking asylum; access to the Job Keeper wage subsidy for all; and continuous access to Medicare for all.

In his greeting, Councillor Kevin Greene, Mayor of Georges River Council, said in the last five years Georges River Council had welcomed over 100 refugees into the area, and was proud to be a Refugee Welcome Zone.

Anthony Scerri, Manager of the Settlement and Community Services division at Advance Diversity Services, said that Refugee Week offers a chance to raise awareness of the plight of refugees around the world and of the efforts to protect their human rights.

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To maintain social distancing and keep people safe during the Covid-19 pandemic, all Refugee Week events in 2020 were held online from June 14 to 20.

For more information about the RACS petition see https://www.racs.org.au/petition

Read more about Advance Diversity Services’ work with asylum seekers and refugees here.

Welcome kit helps newcomers settle and thrive in Australia

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Advance Diversity Services (ADS) has released a new edition of its Welcome to Australia New Arrival Kit and the kit’s fresh design and updated information make it even easier for people to find the services they need to help them settle and thrive in Australian society.

The kit has been translated into Arabic, Bengali, Nepali, Thai and Simplified Chinese. It is also targeted to ensure newly arrived migrants and humanitarian entrants in St George and the Sutherland Shire have the information at their fingertips that will help them to build self-reliance and confidence, and to connect with mainstream and settlement-related services as soon as possible after arrival.

Purna Dawadi from Nepal used the kit to build skills and find work in Australia. “The early days were isolating,’ he said. ‘Thanks to ADS’s New Arrival Kit in Nepali I found a free English class and enrolled at St George TAFE where I completed Certificate III in aged care. I also joined ADS’s Nepalese Fatherhood Support Group, which led to my full-time job – and my family is settled, with a great group of friends.’

The kit contains information about: finding English classes and employment services; enrolling children in school and contacting universities and training colleges; accessing housing and health services; locating interpreters, translation, and legal services; connecting with churches, mosques and synagogues, and more.

Community workers can also use the kit as a trusted resource in referring clients to services for assistance.

‘Adjusting to a new country and its customs can be intimidating and overwhelming,’ said ADS Manager for Settlement and Community Services Anthony Scerri. ‘The kit helps newly arrived people to find their feet – assisting them with their search for employment, a place to live, health services, schools and language acquisition.

‘It’s a very accessible resource for them.’

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Download the Welcome to Australia New Arrival Kit here https://advancediversity.org.au/resources/

Advance Diversity Services is a leading non-profit services provider that assists migrants and refugees in the St George and Sutherland Shire to thrive in Australian society. It supports people in these areas who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual, and all minority sexual and gender identities, including atypical biological sex (LGBTIQA+).

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Media Contact

Anthony Scerri, Manager, Settlement and Community Services

Advance Diversity Services

Phone: (02) 9597 5455

Email: anthonys@advancediversity.org.au

Caption: Purna Dawadi from Nepal (pictured here with his family) said ADS’s New Arrival Kit in Nepali helped him find an English class, skills training, work and belonging.

Expanded Multicultural LGBTIQA+ Support Directory will assist migrants and refugees to face complex challenges

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Migrants and refugees who identify as LGBTIQA+ will find it easier to locate support thanks to an expanded Multicultural LGBTIQA+ Support Directory produced by Advance Diversity Services (ADS) and other leading service providers across Sydney and NSW.

ACON, ADS, ANTRA, Georges River Council, the NSW CALD Gay Men’s Action Group, the South Eastern Sydney Local Health District, 2Connect Youth & Community, Kogarah Community Services, ConversAsians and SocialisAsians contributed to updating the directory and/or funding its production. A generous grant from Pride Foundation Australia also subsidised printing costs.

University of Wollongong Social Work student Hayley Bryant played a lead role in expanding the directory, which was first produced in 2018. She said the new version would be an important referral tool for organisations and a critical reference for Sydney-based LGBTIQA+ people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds, including newly arrived LGBTIQA+ people who are migrants, refugees, asylum-seekers, stateless or internally displaced.

“LGBTIQA+ people from these groups face a complex array of challenges and threats,” Ms Bryant said, “so, it is critical they can find the right support when they need it.”

Searching for support will be easier now, she said, thanks to the comprehensive range of counselling services, legal support, festivals, media services, university groups, aged care, youth services and professional associations the updated directory includes.

ACON, which plays a vital role in fostering the health and voices of LGBTIQ+ people in NSW, is also leading the development of a website which will work in tandem with the PDF-printable version. The website address is in the directory and the link will be made live when the website is complete.

“The expanded directory contains information about health services, religious groups, cultural groups, social activities and more, which makes it an excellent resource for organisations and individuals,” Ms Bryant said.

“Whether people want to locate clinics, seek economic assistance, find shelter from violence, join a sporting team or gather socially with others who identify as LGBTIQA+ the directory and accompanying website will offer the contacts that can meet their needs.”

*Details of the launch of the Multicultural LGBTIQA+ Support Directory will be announced on ADS’s Facebook Page soon. See the directory here https://advancediversity.org.au/resources/ 

Advance Diversity Services is a leading non-profit services provider that assists migrants and refugees in the St George and Sutherland Shire to thrive in Australian society. It supports people in these areas who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual, and all minority sexual and gender identities, including atypical biological sex (LGBTIQA+).

__________

Media Contact

Anthony Scerri, Manager, Settlement and Community Services

Advance Diversity Services

Phone: (02) 9597 5455

Email: anthonys@advancediversity.org.au

Caption: University of Wollongong Social Work student Hayley Bryant played a lead role in expanding the Multicultural LGBTIQA+ Support Directory produced by Advance Diversity Services and other leading service providers across Sydney.

Advance Diversity Services awarded top marks for LGBTIQA+ inclusion

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Advance Diversity Services (ADS) has been awarded HWEI Gold Employer and HWEI Service Provider of the Year in the Australian LGBTQ Inclusion Awards announced on June 11 in a virtual ceremony hosted by ACON.

ADS staff will be presented with the award at a live ceremony on October 19.

The inclusion awards celebrate Australia’s top organisations for LGBTQ inclusion based on the results of the Australian Workplace Equality Index (AWEI) and Australian Health + Wellbeing Equality Index (HWEI). They also acknowledge leaders, individuals and networks that have made a significant impact on LGBTQ inclusion within their workplaces.

ADS entered the awards under the HWEI and scored 85/100 – which is a very high score for a first-time entry.

ADS Chief Executive Officer, Antoinette Chow, said, ‘It is great to receive both HWEI Service Provider of the Year and HWEI Gold Employer which acknowledges the work ADS has been doing to improve our services and practices to support people who identify with a diverse gender and/or sexuality (LGBTIQA+).

‘Our efforts have included rolling out our marketing campaign BE YOU WITH US, playing a lead role in developing the 2020 edition of the Multicultural LGBTIQA+ Support Directory, establishing our LGBTIQA+ Working Group, partnering to educate and inform community services staff who work with Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Communities about best practice, and becoming a member of the Welcome Here Project.

‘We’re proud of how far we’ve come. We also know there is more work to be done in our services and across our region to ensure LGBTIQA+ people feel included and safe to pursue the services they need.

‘For the rest of 2020 we aim to have a strong focus on staff training, educating staff about gender and sexuality diverse clients. This award assures us we’re on the right track.’

ADS is a proud member of ACON’s Pride in Health + Wellbeing, a national program that provides support, training and guidance in LGBTI inclusive service delivery. It also administers the HWEI as part of Pride Inclusion Programs, a suite of social inclusion initiatives run by Australia’s leading LGBTI health organisation, ACON.

Launched in 2019, the HWEI is a benchmarking tool which provides health and wellbeing organisations the opportunity to assess, measure and improve their practices to better include lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTIQ) people in their services.

To participate in the index and the awards an organisation must provide evidence of their inclusiveness across a number of key areas.

These areas include: access to LGBTIQ expertise and how often working groups are consulted; understanding of the health disparities of LGBTIQ people and how this influences service provision; inclusion strategies and implementation; inclusive and supportive care assessment, care planning and/or case management documents; visibility of LGBTIQ people in marketing and media content, understanding of how language can impact LGBTIQ people health care settings, and sensitivities around disclosure.

The information gleaned from organisations allows the HWEI to benchmark LGBT inclusive service delivery identify, map any gaps that exist, and allow for continuous quality improvements to be made. The knowledge gained from the HWEI will result in better experiences of LGBTIQ people when accessing health and human services across Australia.

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Media contact for more information: Anthony Scerri, Manager, Settlement and Community Services, 9597 5455, anthonys@advancediversity.org. au

Caption: Advance Diversity Services receives HWEI Gold Employer and HWEI Service Provider of the Year at the online ceremony on June 11.

Social media screenings highlight refugee stories in virtual Refugee Week

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Local refugees have shared their stories of courage and resilience in a series of video clips produced by Advance Diversity Services (ADS) in partnership with Georges River Council and Refugee Advice and Casework Service (RACS) to be screened on social media during Refugee Week from June 14 to 20.

Filmmakers Bebi and Liz Zekirovski shot the three short videos aware of the complexities of refugee issues and informed by a recent trip to Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh, where more than a million Rohingya refugees are living in cramped and unsanitary conditions after fleeing violence and abuse in neighbouring Myanmar.

The Zekirovski’s will feature as part of a Facebook Live event hosted by ADS on Thursday June 18 at 4pm in which the videos of the refugees’ stories will also be shown. Join the event live via the ADS Facebook page here https://www.facebook.com/advancediversityservices/ (registration not required).

Sydney-based Rohingyan refugee Sajeda Bahadurmia, who appears in one of the videos, said, ‘Refugee Week is very important for me. I am happy to speak out. The world needs to know what is happening to my people.’

ADS Chief Executive Officer Antoinette Chow said refugees across the world were facing the danger of displacement exacerbated by the global coronavirus pandemic.

‘We hope that the videos and the Facebook Live event will raise awareness in the community of the reasons refugees flee to Australia,’ Ms Chow said ‘We also want to show people how they can make refugees feel welcome.’

Councillor Kevin Greene, Mayor of Georges River Council, said in the last five years, Georges River Council has welcomed over 100 refugees into the area.

‘Every refugee seeking safety brings their own story of why they left home and their journey to find safety here. The sharing of stories is an opportunity to not only remember and honour their journey, but also to raise awareness to better understand the contribution that refugees make in society.

‘Georges River Council is proud to be a Refugee Welcome Zone. We are committed to welcoming refugees into the community, upholding the human rights of refugees, demonstrating compassion, and enhancing cultural and religious diversity in our community.’

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To maintain social distancing and keep people safe during the Covid-19 pandemic, Refugee Week events in 2020 will be held online from June 14 to 20.

Read more about Advance Diversity Services’ work with asylum seekers and refugees here.

The Refugee Advice and Casework Service is a strong, independent public voice for the rights of refugees and people seeking asylum.

The Georges River Local Government Area is an official Refugee Welcome Zone and supports the annual Refugee Week event and celebrations.

BebiZekirovski’s A Silent Agreement (2017) was the first Australian feature film to showcase Auslan (Australian sign language). Liz Zekirovski appeared in the film.

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Media contact for more information:Jenny Tang, 9597 5455, jennyt@advancediversity.org.au

Caption: Refugee Week 2020, Year of Welcome

(image source: https://www.refugeeweek.org.au/refugee-week-resources/)

ADS equipped Hayley with fresh perspectives on culture and inclusion

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‘Nothing is more valuable than listening and understanding the stories of a migrant or asylum seeker especially when working out what services are right for them,’ says Hayley Bryant who started her student placement with ADS in January 2020 and will conclude it at the end of May.

What drew you to volunteer and/or to do your student placement with ADS?

When going through the interview process at uni I stated that I was open to anything. My main aim during placement is to learn as much as I can about different things. I am fortunate that with ADS I get to experience in a lot of different areas.

What are you studying and where? And how has your personal history and/or your cultural background informed your work with ADS?

I am studying a Bachelor of Social Work at the University of Wollongong. From my background, and the area I live in, I have not been exposed to the inequities that people from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) backgrounds experience. Because of this, I have had to use more of my social work background to inform my work.

What ADS programs have you assisted with and how have you been encouraged to apply your studies and/or expand your skills in your role?

I have assisted with the SETS program and also aged care. Both have encouraged me to work in a teamwork environment and understand policy, community engagement and advocacy.

What has been the most challenging work you have done with ADS during your time as a volunteer / student?

Working with clients one on one was very challenging! I had not had that experience before so it was very daunting. I had so much to learn and a lot to work on – but it helped me immensely.

How has the coronavirus pandemic affected your placement role?

COVID-19 has not affected my role overly much. I am fortunate enough to continue to support the staff at ADS from my home and from the office. The physical distancing requirements have limited a little of the experience – in the sense of attending client assessments – but overall ADS has adapted really well to the changes required, ensuring everyone remains safe.

What strengths have you brought to your role and placement?

I’m not really sure on this one, I think having a social work background has helped me. From everything I have learnt thus far at university I can apply these skills at ADS and also share my knowledge with the staff.

What has been your proudest moment, greatest achievement, deepest connection in your time at ADS?

One of my biggest achievements has been working on the Multicultural LGBTIQA+ Support directory. I have been working on this project since I started my placement and seeing it develop, over time, has been great. I am excited to see it in its finalised form.

‘Be You With Us’ is ADS’ tagline, and it reflects the organisation’s commitment to welcoming and accepting everyone of all ages, gender, culture, sexuality, and religious beliefs. How have you been encouraged to ‘Be You With Us’ during your time with ADS?

ADS has provided me with the opportunity to be a part of LGBTIQA+ training which has allowed me to broaden my knowledge. Our work with allied organisations and LGBTIQA+ specific groups has also allowed me to work in an inclusive environment.

What more should the Australian Government be doing to welcome migrants and refugees and to ensure they find the support they need to adjust quickly and well to life in Australia?

The government does not provide enough support, resources or funding to migrants and refugees. Having English as their second language limits a person’s access to a variety of information, so I believe more in-language materials are needed as well as more visibility of services in the community.

What is your ultimate goal and how has the work you’ve done with ADS equipped you for what you would like to do next?

My ultimate goal is to work with children who’ve lived with domestic and family violence or been involved in drug and alcohol abuse. ADS has allowed me to take a different perspective when working with clients and to understand how culture is important in many people’s lives. Nothing is more valuable than listening and understanding the stories of a migrant or asylum seeker especially when working out what services are right for them.

I love ADS because it does extraordinary work for the CALD community that does not get the recognition it deserves. They are an incredibly supportive and kind team.

Immersion and support helped Marie Eve hone her skills

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Marie Eve Santi Amantini began as a volunteer with ADS in October 2019 and went on to complete a student placement with ADS from January 27 to April 3, 2020. She says these experiences have been invaluable in equipping her to contribute to the community and assist people in need.

What drew you to volunteer and/or to do your student placement with ADS?

I am passionate about helping refugees, new migrants and Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) communities. Advance Diversity Services (ADS) is a community organisation that specialises in this area.

What are you studying and where? 

I am studying a Diploma of Community Services with 4Life College.

What strengths have you brought to your volunteer role and student placement?

My own migration journey from France to Australia taught me the intricacies involved in navigating a new life. This has informed my work and helped me to understand issues related to separation, trauma, conflict and the orientation required to build a new and supportive community.

What has been your proudest moment, greatest achievement, deepest connection in your time at ADS?

When I work towards assisting clients with complex needs I have a deep sense of accomplishment. I previously wrote the case management plan and coordinated the referrals for a refugee client newly released from a detention centre in order to support his safe settlement in the Australian community, and was feeling good about it.

What ADS programs have you assisted with and how have you been encouraged to apply your studies and expand your skills in your role?

I supported the Emerging Communities team in three programs: Specialised Intensive Services (SIS); Settlement Engagement Transition Support (SETS); and Community Capacity Building (CCB).

I assisted the community workers with coordinating the Positive Parenting program with Bangladeshi and Nepalese families, which aims to improve health and wellbeing, and participated in the Waste Wise project that helps new migrants to learn recycling practices. I also assisted case managers in the Specialised Intensive Services program (SIS) which supports humanitarian entrants who have complex needs.

Through these programs, I was encouraged to use the skills I learnt during my diploma, including case management and case work, project and event management, and collaboration with service providers. Magdaline Shenton-Kaleido, as Community and Settlement Team Leader, provided thorough supervision and reviewed my day-to-day work, which assisted me to develop my skills. Furthermore, I received regular training opportunities, including LGBTI-inclusive practice and a Child Safe Workshop.

What has been the most challenging work you have done with ADS during your time as a volunteer and student on placement?

English is my second language, so it can be challenging to write reports or important emails in English. Even more, communicating in professional English can sometimes be tricky.  

“Be You With Us” is ADS’ tagline, and it reflects the organisation’s commitment to welcoming and accepting everyone of all ages, gender, culture, sexuality, and religious beliefs. How have you been encouraged to “Be You With Us” during your time with ADS?

I felt completely accepted for who I am by the team. In fact, I only eat vegan food and it can be challenging to have different behaviours than the broad community. The team members have been accepting and provided vegan food options when needed.

What more should the Australian Government be doing to welcome migrants and refugees and to ensure they find the support they need to adjust quickly and well to life in Australia?

The government could support migrants and refugees by providing more funding to community organisation to offer orientation programs to all new migrants and refugees on arrival. This would support better access to services and equal opportunities.

Also, many government policies are designed for the general Australian population but do not consider the special challenges that migrant and CALD populations confront in early settlement. These newcomers, especially from emerging communities – Rohingyans and Mongolians for example – would benefit from a more consultative and inclusive approach to policy making. Without this, policies focus on culturalism and differences, rather than taking a real problem-solving approach.

What is your ultimate goal and how has the work you’ve done with ADS equipped you for what you would like to do next?

My ultimate goal is to contribute to the community by assisting people in need. ADS has been assisting me to develop the skills I need by immersing me in all aspects of community work, and with intensive team support. I am very grateful for this.

I love ADS because of its commitment to provide a high level of expertise in its provision of CALD services.

ADS RESPONSE TO COVID-19

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INFORMATION FOR SERVICE PARTNERS AND COLLABORATORS

As the COVID 19 situation develops, we would like to take this opportunity to inform you of how ADS is responding. The health and safety of our staff, clients, service partners and collaborators is a priority. 

We are continuing to provide services with health and safety in mind

  • To keep our service consumers, staff and the public safe during the coronavirus pandemic, we are restricting public access to our offices.
  • We are minimising face to face client contact and using alternative means of providing services to our clients where possible and with funding requirements in mind.
  • We are continuing to provide services but by appointment only or over the phone (9am – 5pm, Monday to Friday). Please know that the ADS team is here to help.
  • All ADS run group based activities have been postponed for the time being to reduce the risk of transmission of the virus in group settings.
  • We have postponed all ADS organised community events e.g., festivals, information sessions. 
  • We have postponed ADS hosted inter-agency meetings where alternatives to conducting in person meetings cannot be arranged.
  • We have instructed our staff to not attend in person external interagency meetings until further notice. Staff can participate in meetings via electronic means.

Minimising the risk of transmission

  • We have processes for staff to notify us if they are unwell or have had exposure to the virus.
  • We have instructed staff on good hand/cough/sneeze hygiene, and social distancing measures.
  • Provided hand sanitizers in all our offices and to staff visiting clients in their homes.
  • Introduced arrangements to maximise social distancing e.g., interim working from home, postponement of internal training.
  • We have written to clients about COVID 19 and how they can help us minimise the risk of transmission in their interactions with us.

These are difficult times for our clients, service providers and the community as a whole.  We will continue to work in solidarity with you to provide needed services as best we can with health and safety being front of mind. We will provide updates as the situation unfolds.  

Antoinette Chow

Chief Executive Officer

Waste-wise initiative helps new arrivals learn the ins and outs of recycling

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A waste-wise initiative offered by Advance Diversity Services (ADS) in 2020 will help new arrivals in the Barton electorate match their good intentions and commitment with responsible recycling practices.

The Waste Wise Project, which received funding from the AusIndustry Business Grants Hub on behalf of the Department of the Environment and Energy in December, will extend ADS’s existing involvement with Clean Up Australia Day and have a strong a strong focus on reducing waste and litter in the local environment through practical activities.

‘ADS clients are new migrants and refugees who’ve often had no past recycling experience or knowledge of different recycling systems outside their country of origin,’ said Anthony Scerri, Manager of Settlement and Community Services for ADS.

‘They want to do the right thing but, for people who are learning English, knowing what to put in which bin and what’s recyclable can be a struggle. We want to help them with this.’

Mr Scerri said the Waste Wise Project will involve Nepalese, Bangladeshi, Arabic, Thai and Chinese local community members in a Clean Up Australia Day activity in Hogben Park in Kogarah, and provide information about recycling and waste collection in people’s language of origin. Support from ADS’s bilingual staff will also be crucial to fostering their understanding of responsible waste management.

Participants will be given a two-compartment bin (general waste and recyclable items) to help

them apply what they’ve learnt from the Clean Up Australia Day event. A follow-up phone survey will determine how effective the learning has been, and ADS will offer people further education if needed.

Bus trips to the Rockdale Resource Recovery Centre or similar centres will give participants further insight into recycling and the opportunity to ask questions or clarify their new understanding of responsible waste disposal.

‘We’re happy to be sharing practical knowledge with new arrivals about managing household waste, recycling, and “living with less”, said Mr Scerri. ‘Our ultimate goal is to reduce litter and waste in our local community.’

Caption: Members of the Nepalese community who took part in a in a Clean Up Australia Day activity in Hogben Park in Kogarah in 2018. Advance Diversity Services is planning a similar event in 2020 as part of its Waste Wise Project.

UPCOMING EVENTS

RESOURCES

GET INVOLVED

CONTACT US

Address

552 Princes Highway

Rockdale NSW 2216

Business Hours

Monday to Friday 9am to 4pm

TEL: (02) 9597 5455

FAX: (02) 9567 3326

Email: info@advancediversity.org.au

Postal Address

PO Box 381

Rockdale NSW 2216

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Getting Here

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

To keep our service consumers, staff and the public safe during the coronavirus pandemic, we are restricting public access to our offices.

We are continuing to provide services but by appointment only or over the phone (9 am – 5 pm, Monday to Friday). Please know that the ADS team is here to help.

Call us on (02) 9597 5455 or email us info@advancediversity.org.au and we’ll direct you to the right person.

Stay safe and keep healthy!