SSI Allianz scholarship supports 34 refugees to overcome barriers to education


Allianz Australia and Settlement Services International (SSI) award 34 deserving refugee students with SSI Allianz Refugee Scholarships, providing vital funding to access technology, pursue their education, and obtain local qualification recognition.

The scholarship supports refugees and people seeking asylum, who live in New South Wales, Victoria, and Queensland, to overcome the added financial barriers they experience in secondary school, vocational education, university, skills, and qualifications recognition.  

Since 2016, the Allianz and SSI partnership has awarded over 280 refugee education scholarships, totalling more than $500,000.  

This year, scholarships were awarded to 34 people from 17 different cultural backgrounds, including Afghan, Iraqi, Ukrainian, Yemeni, and Persian.

“Refugees and people seeking asylum face several challenges in pursuing their education,” said Violet Roumeliotis, SSI CEO.  

“In particular, the recent transition to online learning by education institutions and schools has adversely impacted newly arrived students, who may have a lack of access to technology or digital skills. By working with organizations such as Allianz and other community partners, we aim to bridge this gap and offer support to students in their educational pursuits.” 

Among this year’s recipients, is 23-year-old Hala, gathered to celebrate their achievements at Allianz’s Sydney and Melbourne offices. 

Before arriving in Australia, Hala missed out on almost a decade of her studies due to the conflict in Syria. She is now a school captain at Bankstown Senior College and working on weekends to support her mother and siblings. 

“It was getting too tiring to do my assignments on my phone,” Hala said.  

Hala shared that with the amount of money on expenses such as rent, insurance and food, she didn’t have the ability to pay for a laptop. 

“So when I got the scholarship, I thanked God every day, because now that I have a laptop, I can do more work, more studies, and more things.”

Hala plans to attend Western Sydney University to study for a Bachelor of Business. 

SSI CEO Violet Roumeliotis said the partnership demonstrates Allianz’s genuine care and understanding of how to empower and support newly arrived communities.

“These scholarships reflect our shared fundamental view that everyone has the right to meet their potential and to live the life they want to live. And in fact, as a community, we are all better off when people have the opportunity to do so.”

Allianz Australia Managing Director, Richard Feledy highlighted that the partnership that was recognised by the Australian Human Rights Commission and awarded the Australian Human Rights Commission Business Award in 2017 will benefit both the recipients and the community. 

“At Allianz, our purpose is to help provide a secure future for our customers, employees and the wider community,” said Feledy.  

“Access to quality education is a critical step to equip young Australians with the skills that they need to thrive in the workforce and establish rewarding and successful careers,” he added.  

Feledy believes in the power and strength of diversity, inclusion, and belonging, and believes that the more they bring people with diverse experiences, ideas, and backgrounds together, and create environments where everyone feels safe to contribute, the better the outcomes will be – both for businesses and society as a whole.   

“I am enormously proud of our partnership with SSI and the support that we have given to over 280 young people of refugee backgrounds to achieve independence in Australia.” 

Related: SSI says Migration reform could activate underutilised talent