Managing Distress

Please find below the links to information sheets on managing distress in English, Arabic, Farsi and Somali with advice for communities, parents and caregivers on managing distress and taking care of themselves in time of crisis.

Advice on managing distress – Arabic

Advice on managing distress – English

Advice on managing distress – Farsi

Advice on managing distress – Somali

MSP and ES have put these together in response to the Christchurch attack and they may be helpful for any engagement with communities and clients feeling distressing effects following the attack.

Settlement support organisations in the Illawarra stand in solidarity with the Muslim community during Harmony Week

Strategic Community Assistance to Refugee Families (SCARF), The Multicultural Communities Council of Illawarra (MCCI), Illawarra Multicultural Service (IMS) and the Illawarra division of the Australian Red Cross Humanitarian Settlement Program (Red Cross HSP), come together to express our deep sympathy to the victims and families of the recent terror attack by a right-wing extremist in Christchurch. We stand in solidarity with the Muslim community and continue to respect cultural diversity here in the Illawarra and around the world during Harmony week.

IMS CEO Raquel Aldunate said:

“IMS sends its heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of those killed and to those injured in the attack. We also condemn the racist and divisive rhetoric expressed by certain politicians and media in Australia both before and after this attack. It serves no purpose other than to instil the fear and hatred which can lead to such attacks.”

SCARF CEO Pippa Rendel urges connection:

“When tragic events occur, it can feel hard to know what to do to support to each other. You may want to reach out to Muslim friends, neighbours and fellow community members who may be feeling distressed or unsafe. We encourage people to make these connections. If you have Muslim neighbours or friends, you may wish to check in with them at this time. A smile or friendly greeting to people you are less acquainted with and those you pass in the street can go a long way to foster a sense of belonging and reinforce community ties. Community gatherings are also a wonderful way for us all to recognise our shared humanity and the strength of the connections between us.”

The Illawarra’s multicultural and settlement support organisations have played an important role in effectively settling refugees and those seeking humanitarian assistance regardless of faith or cultural background. They will continue to work closely with the Muslim community as well as those from other backgrounds. These services will continue to work in collaboration with each other and the wider community to promote the benefits of diversity and support people of all faiths and backgrounds as they build lives in the Illawarra and add to the rich fabric of our community.

Australian Red Cross, HPS Regional Manager Pia Angelucci said:

“The thoughts and hearts of Red Cross are with Muslim communities in New Zealand and everywhere else. People killed as they gathered to pray is a horrifying act against all humanity. To all those affected and all those fearing for their safety and questioning the world around them, we stand with you, always.”

We applaud the response of New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern and her inclusive stance against divisive politics. There is no place for anti-immigration, anti-refugee, anti-Muslim beliefs in Australia. This is the time to show support for our diverse communities through programs such as Harmony Week.

MCCI CEO Chris Lacy said:

“Harmony Week commenced on Sunday 17 March and now, as much as ever, it is important for the whole community to come together to show our support for inclusion, diversity and respect and, by doing so, make a statement that we unequivocally reject the extremist views that fuel hate and division in our community.

“I am confident that the people of the Illawarra will come together in this time of need to support our

local Muslim community and stand up for the values of inclusion and respect that make us who we are

as Australians today. We in the Illawarra have a strong history of welcoming and supporting refugees

and migrants from all over the world and, as community, we will continue to do so.”

Wollongong has been recognised as a Refugee Welcome Zone since 2005. During that time the region has accepted thousands of refugees including women, children and families from 14 countries of origin including Burma, African nations, middle east and south America and from various cultural backgrounds, languages and faiths.

The following support services are available to those in the community who might be struggling:

Happy Nowruz! Happy New Year!

Nowruz is the biggest non-religious festival for over 30 countries in the Middle East and East Asia.

Its traditions are over 3000 years old.

Building on last year’s first ever public event, our local communities are inviting everyone to help celebrate New Year.

Please join our local Afghani, Iranian and Kurdish communities for the celebrations.  

Thursday 21 March 2019 

6pm – 10pm

Wollongong Mall Stage

Music, Dance, Food Stalls, Arts/Crafts   


Exhibition | Hand in Hand

Hand in Hand (formerly Art4Refugees) is a charity exhibition where proceeds from the sale of donated artworks support SCARF programs for refugee children, youth and adults.  

Hand in Hand reflects our commitment to showcasing the works of established local and national artists, side by side with emerging artists from refugee backgrounds – providing a safe space to share their art with the wider community.  

This year, Hand in Hand will be held from 20th – 24th March 2019 at Project Contemporary Artspace, 255 Keira Street, Wollongong.  

Opening Night on Friday 22nd March will feature an auction of 3 artworks by artists originally from Myanmar, Syria and Iran.  

We’ll also be hosting a free Family Day on 24th March for SCARF volunteers, refugee families and the wider community, with the aim of promoting connection and social inclusion through arts and craft activities. 

Our Local

Last week a new website for children and young people was launched by the NSW Government .

The website is called Our Local and was built in response to feedback from children and young people who asked for an easy way to find local and state-wide opportunities, activities, services and events.

Now is the perfect time for organisations to get involved. There are two ways to be part of Our Local outlined below.

  1. If you are part of an organisation that provides opportunities, activities, services or events for under 24 year olds in NSW, click here for more information on the benefits of Our Local and how your organisation can get involved.
  2. If you work with, by, or on behalf of children and young people, assist them to find local opportunities, activities, services and events, by visiting Our Local today.

Visit Our Local via the link below.

For more information or to learn about Our Local, click here.