Settlement Services International’s Community Engagement team delivers a range of events and activities that allow clients to learn new skills and develop community connections.
Settlement Services International organised for a group of young asylum seekers who are seeking a new home in Australia to participate in a Ministry of Food cooking course at Wetherill Park. The seven participants got the lucky opportunity to pick up some new home cooking skills while meeting fellow asylum seekers in their local community.
Over the 7-week course, a selection of healthy and delicious main meals and sides using fresh seasonal produce were taught to the students, along with useful nutrition information, teaching them how to make better food choices. Participants also learned practical kitchen skills such as knife handling, kitchen hygiene and safety, the value of eating food that is in season, budgeting and shopping tips and creating meals from scratch.
SSI CEO Violet Roumeliotis said it was particularly important for people who are seeking asylum to have the opportunity to meet new people in a welcoming environment.

“Social inclusion plays a large part in a person’s ability to adapt to life in Australia, which is so important to people who are waiting for their application for refugee status to be assessed.

It helps to build a sense of belonging and community connectedness, which has a range of benefits on mental health and wellbeing.

One of the particularly encouraging aspects of the Jamie’s Ministry of Food program was the level of cameraderie that was developed among the participants. It was great to see people from such diverse backgrounds come together to bond over their shared enjoyment of cooking.”
– SSI CEO Violet Roumeliotis

One of the participants, Atoosa, enjoyed learning new skills and was particularly pleased to receive her certificate of completion, which she will include in her portfolio to support her job search.
“One of my favourite things was learning about other cultures and their foods” – Atoosa, participant
All Jamie’s Ministry of Food classes aim to equip people with the skills and knowledge to cook for themselves, while also inspiring and empowering them to change the way they eat and think about food.