Advance Diversity Services (ADS) has joined forces with Auburn Diversity Services Inc. (ADSi) to explore innovative ways to provide migrant and refugee settlement services to the Nepalese communities in the Auburn (Cumberland Council) catchment area. ADS and ADSi whose core business has been the provision of settlement services, are keen to learn from this partnership.

A $50,000 grant announced in November activated the working partnership, which will test a new, collaborative, service-delivery model that builds on the local connections of each partner to maximise reach and impact.

ADS was awarded this funding as an initiative of the NSW Settlement Partnership – a consortium of community organisations, led by Settlement Services International, delivering settlement services in NSW.

Community Services Officer, Rishi Acharya from ADS – who has a strong history of working with the Nepalese community – has been appointed to drive the project, which aims to extend into the Auburn area core settlement support now offered to the newly arrived Nepalese community residing in the St George area.

‘Auburn now has the largest population of Nepali-speakers in Australia followed by Rockdale,’ said Mr Acharya. Hurstville is currently in third place. Both are in the St George area where I’ve spent the last 8 years building strong and supportive pathways for new Nepali-speaking arrivals.

‘I’m excited to be using my knowledge and collaborative skills to ensure Nepalese communities in the Auburn area will be well supported by the Australian Government’s Settlement Engagement and Transition Support Grants (SETS) program.’

SETS supports humanitarian entrants and other eligible permanent migrants in their first five years of life in Australia. The program focuses on social participation, economic wellbeing, independence, personal wellbeing and community connectedness.

Mr Acharya will collaborate with ADSi and the Nepalese Australian Association to tap into the needs of recently arrived Nepalese migrants and refugees, identify gaps in service provision, and offer practical face-to-face support to community members.

Mr Acharya said the Nepali speaking population in Australia had increased significantly with 62,002 members counted in the 2016 Census compared to 27,155 in the 2011 census. There had also been a huge upsurge in Nepali students in recent years.

‘We were awarded the grant from the NSW Settlement Partnership’s Settlement Innovation Fund because our project clearly promotes service experimentation and improvement across its network of partners,’ he said.

‘Our goal now is to be innovative with purpose!’

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.

Caption: Cultural perspectives on gambling offered by Nepalese community members in a November focus group will inform an Advance Diversity Services project that aims to reduce gambling harm in the community.