We are at the end of our first month as a merged entity with MCCI Ltd and it has been such a productive and positive experience. The genuine warmth and enthusiasm with which we have been welcomed by the MCCI team has really made these first transitional weeks far less challenging than they might have been.
Whilst we have made great progress that doesn’t mean there isn’t much left to do because there is (complicated as usual by COVID restriction), but the process is well structured and the timelines are realistic giving everyone a chance to balance their day-to-day job with merger adaptation.
Below you will find a request for nominations for the SCARF Advisory Committee and I encourage those of you that have an interest in SCARF’s future program and service delivery to consider this opportunity. Please get in touch if you would like to know a little more. You can contact me on 0413 693 846.
A huge shout-out to Sophie-May and the team for pulling together the Digital Device Drive and the outstanding achievement of over 100 devices delivered to community. There was a lot of voluntary work involved in this so well done to all as this initiative delivered very tangible benefits for community member recipients at a crucial time. And a special mention goes to Green Connect who donated almost 20 devices in the last round of donations.
We are now working through our “emerging from COVID” plan so it won’t be long before we will be working from our new office (117 Corrimal Street Wollongong) with “drop-in” facilities, and have all our programs back up and running with face-to-face interaction. I look forward to catching up with you all soon.
SCARF Acting CEO/Transition Support Advisor
UPDATES & NEWS
DIGITAL DEVICE DRIVE: 100TH DEVICE DONATED
SCARF has just reached a milestone in our Digital Device Drive initiative. Last week, the program coordinator, Sophie-May, delivered the 100th device to a local family since the pandemic began in early 2020.
“This has been such a meaningful activity to be involved in – each of the families I have met have been very thankful to the SCARF community and watching children (and parents’) faces light up with joy when receiving a device has been lovely,” she said.
Since the pandemic began to have an impact in Australia in March 2020, SCARF has been delivering devices such as laptops, computers and tablets to local families. The device drive has been so important in keeping individuals and families connected at a time when connectivity could not be more important.
We would like to extend a special thank you to Green Connect who recently donated almost 20 devices to deliver. This generous donation is just one of the community support initiatives that Green Connect undertook during lockdown.
Poe Meh (bottom left), who just recently received a donated laptop said, “My children and I can easily access online learning with a computer.”
Thank you to those who have donated devices and funds to support this initiative, and thank you to our invaluable volunteers! We will continue to supply devices, and you can still donate below at any time.
Madeline or Maddie as she is affectionately known by the SCARF team, joined us as a social work placement student in May 2021. Throughout her six-month placement, Maddie has supported SCARF’s employment and training activities, working under the supervision of Sophie-May. Maddie provided valuable assistance with program administration, employment mentoring and work-ready training workshops, including the popular Tech Savvy program delivered in partnership with Wollongong City Library.
Maddie has worked tirelessly to support the program and her commitment to supporting community members with their employment goals remained strong despite the shift to working from home and providing support online. The SCARF team was delighted that Maddie has been offered a position at SCARF as the project support officer (employment and training) on conclusion of her placement to continue this great work.
“I am so incredibly grateful to have been placed at SCARF for my first social work placement. Throughout my placement, highlights for me included working on the Tech Savvy program, working with community members to achieve employment goals, and helping to facilitate diversity and inclusion workshops within the community. The SCARF team is so incredibly dedicated and inspiring; I learnt so much from being welcomed by and working alongside them,” said Maddie.
Maddie is pictured (bottom right) with the Tech Savvy program participants.
Please join us in welcoming Maddie to the team.
JOIN THE SCARF ADVISORY COMMITTEE
Do you have an interest in helping us to shape future services for refugee communities in the Illawarra? MCCI is looking to form a community advisory committee to help support our services for refugee communities.
“The intent of the committee is to establish an ongoing consultation mechanism for advice, feedback and support in respect of SCARF’s services, programs, and community engagement.” says MCCI’s CEO Chris Lacey.
The committee will comprise an independent chair and up to 10 members from the community. The committee will be appointed by the MCCI board and play an important role for the community to have input into the design, implementation and ongoing evaluation of services for the community. Attendance at four meetings per year of approximately two hours’ duration will be required. People from culturally and linguistically diverse communities are encouraged to apply. For more information, contact Chris Lacey or Ian Jarman on 4229 7566 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
SCARF YOUTH DRAWING COMPETITION WINNERS
As a way of engaging SCARF youth aged between 5 and 12 years of age, last month we ran the youth drawing competition #whatmakesyouhappy. We are proud to announce the winners and display their drawings.
The winners are (top to bottom, left right):
Congratulations to the winners!
MORE OPPORTIUNITIES FOR CULTURAL TRAINING
SCARF and MCCI have pooled their expertise to provide a greater variety of cultural training programs aimed at increasing cultural understanding in education institutions, the aged care sector and businesses in NSW and ACT.
“Working together enables us to combine the best of two organisations, build on years of experience and bring together knowledge and people to enhance and sharpen our cultural training,” says MCCI’s Zeljka who is looking forward to the first joint training session at the end of the month for psychologists and counsellors at Family Services Australia.
“Our shared goal is to broaden cultural capacity skills of workplaces, schools and businesses, and it makes perfect sense to expand the cohort of organisations and communities we are working with,” says Sophie-May who is responsible for SCARF’s training.
Whereas MCCI has broad experience in increasing cultural awareness in the aged care sector, SCARF has delivered cultural training also in educational institutions and work closely with local presenters from refugee backgrounds.
“The lived refugee experience has always been at the forefront of our cultural training. Working with diversity and inclusion co-facilitators from refugee backgrounds in Syria, Afghanistan, Burma/Myanmar, Congo, among other places, makes the training more relevant and creates training and employment opportunities,” says Sophie-May.
SCARF relies on the generosity of volunteers to deliver all of our community programs and services. We present the SCARF Volunteer Spotlight: Steve.
Steve, who has been involved with the Let’s Chat program for almost three years, is married and a grandfather of five school-aged grandchildren. He is a retired teacher who enjoys the opportunities that Let’s Chat provides to connect with people from other cultures.
Let’s Chat is a SCARF weekly catch-up program giving community members the opportunity to practice their English skills and socialise in a safe setting. Steve’s dedication and creativity in delivering games and activities via Let’s Chat ensure that the weekly meet-ups fun and engaging.
“We get together once a week to support our friends through conversations and games that encourage greater confidence in speaking English. It is great way to have fun whilst learning the challenges of living in a new country,” he said.
Thank you, Steve for all of your efforts each week; we really appreciate your time and energy!
JOIN US FOR THE LAST ONLINE FUNDRAISER TRIVIA NIGHT OF THE YEAR
Join us for the final SCARF online trivia fundraiser for 2021. There will be three rounds of trivia with bonus questions and fun games.
Book a “table” and be sure to enter all the names of your team mates so they can be admitted to the Zoom event. You can book anywhere from two people – six people on a “table”. Be sure to enter your team name!
The last SCARF trivia night sold out so book early to avoid disappointment.
Shop now to grab a Champions of Welcome shirt, KeepCup, Champions of Welcome tote bag or a pack of gift cards designed by Najla Sbei who is originally from Damascus, Syria.
Postage available or collection Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm from 117 Corrimal Street Wollongong. Please select the postage option for contactless delivery.
We accept PayPal and credit card.
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.
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.