Home / The Professional / Allianz and SSI partnership celebrates refugee and migrants' education scholarships
27 June 2022
Allianz Australia and Settlement Services International (SSI) announced 37 new recipients of its refugee scholarship program at ceremonies as it expanded the initiative’s reach.
The program began in 2016 to provide educational and career opportunities for migrants and refugees who face financial barriers.
This year’s ceremonies, held in Sydney, Brisbane, and Melbourne on June 15, received additional funding from Allianz that allowed the program to support recipients from Queensland and Victoria for the first time.
Allianz Australia MD Richard Feledy says the investment provides opportunities for underprivileged groups to offer a diverse voice in future workplaces.
“The more we can bring together people with different experiences, ideas, and backgrounds, and create environments in which people can use their unique skills and perspectives, the stronger both businesses and societies will be,” Mr Feledy said.
“Quality education is a critical step in the journey of all young Australians to establish rewarding careers, however, many young people of refugee backgrounds are facing significant financial barriers to accessing that education. I am so proud of the work that Allianz and SSI are doing together to support these deserving young people in their journey to learn and achieve their goals.”
Roaa Ahmed from NSW received a scholarship at this year’s ceremony. Her family settled in Australia after being forced to leave Egypt and China.
She says she intends to study journalism to speak up against gender inequality and human rights issues.
“As a refugee and as a person who didn’t have basic human rights such as the right to live and express my opinions freely, I am strongly determined to study journalism,” Ms Ahmed said.
“Our world is full of injustices and it’s now the time to give humans and specifically women and children the ability to practise their basic human rights, including access to education and living.”
Since its inception, the partnership has delivered 214 refugee education scholarships, totaling over $400,000 in relieved costs.
The scholarships have supported 36 refugees into permanent employment in various industries, including Finance, Human Resources, Claims, IT, Underwriting, Workers’ Compensation, and Marketing.
SSI CEO Violet Roumeliotis says the boosted investments from Allianz highlight the insurer’s dedication to providing opportunities for those in need.
“Allianz understands that supporting individuals who have a refugee experience is not just about providing material aid and assisting people to survive,” Ms Roumeliotis said.
Ms Roumeliotis says the Covid-19 pandemic highlighted refugee students' digital barriers and exacerbated existing difficulties.
“As schools and other education institutes moved online over the last two years, we saw how a lack of access to technology or digital literacy was negatively affecting newly arrived students,” Ms Roumeliotis said.
“With the help of organisations like Allianz and other partners in the community, we hope to close that divide and support students as they continue their education.”