The latest at SCARF February 2021

The latest at SCARF | March 2021 ☀

It has been a fairly hectic start to 2021 but the new year has brought with it a renewed feeling of optimism as we re-boot community programs and continue to foster new partnerships and connections in the Illawarra to support the local refugee community.

2020 brought with it restrictions that impacted many of our programs and activities and we will continue to adjust to these restrictions as they continue to evolve but we are happy to be able to now offer our programs to community members with COVID Safe practices in place.

Last year we said goodbye to Pippa who led us through one of the most challenging years on record for SCARF. Pippa guided the team with determination and compassion and paved the way for further innovation within the organisation. We would like to thank Pippa for her contribution to SCARF and wish her well in her new role.

For the next few months, I will be acting CEO as the committee navigates the way forward. I feel honoured and privileged to take on this opportunity and I hope that I can serve the SCARF community, volunteers and staff in the best way possible to deliver positive outcomes in line with SCARF’s fundamental mission.

I am so pleased to introduce three new staff members that will help SCARF shape and deliver our programs and activities in 2021. Yolanda Mudukuti, joins us at the new volunteer support officer, and will take care of everything volunteering! Drew Sewell (Programs Manager) has taken over the reins from Claire who has opted for a less time-consuming role as Project Officer (Health). Drew will be working closely with me in refining our current programs and developing new projects and activities to meet emerging community needs. Cherie Aitken has joined us in the capacity of administration assistant and will be supporting the team and myself while I am the acting CEO. It is perhaps not surprising that each of these new employees was previously a volunteer at SCARF as well.

If you would like to support SCARF in any way or if you would like to partner with us in delivering any of our programs, please make contact.

Ian Jarman
Acting CEO




This year SCARF nominated four amazing young people for the recent Wollongong City Council Awards. Each of these people were nominated for their contributions to SCARF activities that promote connection and inclusion in the community.  
Special congratulations to Hasan Al Taleb, who won the Lord Mayer’s Award. 

The following community members were nominees in the following categories:
– Zeinab Azimi – Nominee Young Citizen of the Year Award 
– Amro Zoabe – Nominee Diversity and Inclusion Award 
– Elie Butoto –  Nominee Diversity and Inclusion Award 

(pictured left to right, top to bottom)


Drew joins us as the new program manager. Drew has recently returned from living in the UK where he worked at the British Red Cross coordinating their Help Through Crisis service which provided complex case management to refugees and asylum seekers. Prior to this, Drew worked at Settlement Services International in varied capacities including Ability Links – working in community development focusing on workplace diversity and inclusion as well as in the Refugee Employment Support Program (RESP).

Earlier in his career Drew worked in the corporate sector on large scale infrastructure projects in program and contract management roles. After several years Drew made the decision to transition towards a career in community services as it aligned more with his values and passions of social justice, inclusion and diversity. 

Having previously volunteered for the befriending program Drew directly experienced and was inspired by the positive impact SCARF programs have within the community. Drew also values volunteering and has previously volunteered at Illawarra Multicultural Services, SSI and Green Connect. Drew feels excited and grateful to be able to contribute and support SCARF through his new role. 

In his spare time Drew enjoys getting outdoors, spending time at the beach and bushwalking in the National Park. He also loves all things sport related and trying out new recipes in the kitchen. 
Cherie is excited to return to SCARF as a member of staff after having volunteered with us in the formative year as a community assistant, supporting local families and providing tutoring support to school children. She joins us as the new administrative assistant. She brings with her years of experience working with senior management in various roles as a personal assistant, executive assistant and advice coordinator.

Cherie is passionate about social justice issues, the empowerment of individuals, the provision of opportunities and services for all people regardless of culture, religion, nationality, gender, or class. She is currently in her final stages of a degree in a Bachelor of Social Science – Anthropology at Macquarie University. This study has given me knowledge and practical skills in understanding public issues and assisted my understanding of social challenges people face with inequality and social inclusion. 
In her spare time she enjoys participating in new adventures, swimming, travelling and hiking, although some of these have been a little challenging to be involved in of late. She is looking forward to taking them up again in 2021.
A long-time Wollongong resident, Yolanda was born in Zimbabwe. Having lived in England, Malaysia, Singapore Yolanda comes from a diverse multicultural and multilingual background, with extensive experience in the not-for-profit industry, specifically humanitarian practices. Yolanda joins us as the new volunteer support officer. 

Previously Team Leader with the Australian Red Cross Humanitarian Settlement Program, Yolanda holds two degrees and is a certified Australian Governance and Compliance for NFP Officer. Yolanda is passionate about mitigating and alleviating suffering, exploring and learning new cultures and languages.  
Sitara joined SCARF at the end of 2020 as a family case worker. She is originally from Pakistan where she worked as a community worker with a not-for-profit organisation. She has always been on the frontline when it comes to supporting community members to achieve their goals and get the appropriate services. Sitara came to Australia as a Social work student in 2017 and completed her degree in early 2019 from Flinders University (Adelaide).

Sitara is very excited to work with SCARF and use her knowledge and passion to support SCARF community members. 
SCARF has partnered with Healthy Cities Illawarra deliver a physical activity program for women of all ages from recent migrant and refugee backgrounds. Our theme is “Get Active, Together!” and the group is exercising and building connections as part of an inclusive, fun and active program. The start of Active Connections was celebrated with an Opening Walk in Stuart Park in December. We walked 5km through Stuart Park and Puckeys enjoying the outdoors and a lot of good chats along the way. The celebration continued with sharing healthy snacks and a lot of talk and laughter. Participants made fruit smoothies with pedal power on the Bike n’ Blend and the children enjoyed some playtime.
In term 1 Active Connections will be Tuesdays (9 March to 30 March) from 4.30-6.30 pm at Stuart Park. Activities this term are going to be walking and outdoor fitness and we are going to have something special to celebrate the end of the term. If you know any interested women in the community, please contact Zahra to participate. Children under 6 can be brought along for the walks and child minding will be available for fitness classes.


Join us for a weekly social get-together at North Beach for volleyball and beach activities. All SCARF community members, volunteers and friends of SCARF welcome.

When: Wednesdays
Time: 5pm – 7pm
Where: North Beach, Wollongong

Please note: children aged under 16 years of age will need to be accompanied by an adult at all times.

Hand sanitiser will be available. Please maintain a distance of 1.5 metres from others (no handshakes or hugging) and if you are displaying any cold or flu symptoms, please stay home and look after yourself.


We would like express our immense gratitude to Collins Booksellers Thirroul for their incredible fundraising efforts over the 2020 Christmas period.

They raised $500 through community donations and have matched that with another $500 donation to SCARF. Thank you for your ongoing support over the years and thank to the community for your donations. Your support enables SCARF to continue providing friendship programs to refugee entrants in the Illawarra


SCARF’s increased focus on employment support over the past six months has seen more community members being supported with their language, education, and employment goals. 37 community members attended one or more training sessions in 2020 that were run in collaboration with local training providers such as Kiama Community College and Fusion Walan Miya. Our Skills for Success mentoring program, that matches community members one-on-one with volunteer support, has now seen more than 50 individual mentoring sessions completed.

Recognising that employment remains one of the most significant challenges faced by resettled refugees, we hope to continue to grow our employment support in 2021. We have mentor opportunities and we are working with local businesses who are open to providing work experience or employment opportunities.

If you would like to get involved in any way, please get in touch. 


SCARF is continuing to seek new driver mentors for our hugely popular L2P driver mentor program. SCARF’s L2P driving program connects voluntary driver mentors with people from refugee backgrounds living in the Illawarra to provide mentoring sessions for learner drivers and facilitates a number of initiatives to increase community awareness about safe driving and road safety.

The demand for L2P driver mentors has remained high during COVID and the program has made a number of changes to implement COVID Safe practices some of which are done every time the car is used including a health questionnaire, temperature checking using a digital thermometer, sanitising hands and using antibacterial wipes on all high touch areas before and after each session. In addition to these high frequency measures, there are face masks and gloves in the car for anyone who feels the need for extra protection.

One of our L2P driver mentors and community members talk about why this program is so important. 


Peete, SCARF community member, was interviewed by ABC Illawarra about the meaningful impact soccer has played in his life in Australia and the challenges faced by the Burmese refugee community. Local sports teams provide an excellent opportunity for members of the community to meet people and form new relationships. A passion for soccer in shared across the globe and connects people of different cultures, languages, and upbringings.


Buy a keep cup, Champions of Welcome tote bag, pack of gift cards or a Champions of Welcome shirt in 2021. Our website is now taking online payments. We accept PayPal and credit card. Your order can be posted to you at the standard rate or you can collect from Balinese Spice Magic,130 Keira Street Wollongong, during the following times:

Tuesday 5:30–9pm
Wednesday 5:30–9pm
Thursday 5:30–9pm
Friday 11am–2:30pm, 5:30–10pm
Saturday 11am–2:30pm, 5:30–10pm

100% of proceeds from our merchandise and gifts go to SCARF to support refugee entrants rebuilding their lives in the Illawarra. Where possible, we work with local manufacturers and keep single-use plastic to a minimum. 

Please allow up to two weeks to receive your Champions of Welcome shirts. 
Women: S, M, L, XL (red, charcoal and orange)
Men: S, M, L, XL (red, charcoal and orange)
Youth Tee: 8, 10, 12, 14, 16 (red, charcoal and orange)
Kids Tee: 2, 4, 6 (red)

Do you support the work that SCARF does? A gift of $40 a month will provide refugee entrants in the Illawarra with access to the services that will help them overcome the barriers they face and lead fulfilling lives here in our community.

Settlement in Australia does not guarantee a happily ever after, but SCARF takes the first step in achieving this. We offer friendship to build a sense of belonging and the support, services and tools that lead to independence and empowerment.
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