With nearly 1 in every 100 people worldwide now displaced from their homes since the end of 2015, NFP agencies like Settlement Services International (SSI) are needed now more than ever. Voted by Pro Bono Australia in 2014 and 2015 as one of the top 25 most influential people working in the not-for-profit sector, we were honoured to get an insight into the kind of work that CEO Violet Roumeliotis does to ease hardship and restore human dignity to societies’ most vulnerable; refugees, asylum seekers and people living with disability.

By Joanne Leila Smith

According to a report commissioned by the Pew Research Center, ‘Key Facts about the World’s Refugees’ (Connor et al 2016), since the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees began collecting data on displaced persons in 1951 nearly 1 in 100 people worldwide are now displaced from their homes.

The UNHCR Global Trends Forced Displacement Report says by the end of 2015, 65.3 million people were forcibly displaced worldwide due to persecution, conflict, violence or human rights violations. On average 24 persons were displaced from their homes per minute in 2015.  51 percent of children below 18 years of age constituted approximately half of the refugee population of this percentage – 98,400 were unaccompanied or separated children.

The top four host countries for refugee intakes are Turkey (2.5 M), Pakistan (1.6 M), Lebanon (1.1 M) and the Islamic Republic of Iran (979K).

Since the end of 2015, 11,776 refugees were resettled in Australia.

Apart from CEO Violet Roumeliotis’s role with Settlement Services International, an NFP that provides a range of services in the areas of refugee settlement, migrant support services, asylum seeker assistance, housing, multicultural foster care, disability support, employment services and youth support in NSW (and as the state-wide umbrella organisation for 11 Migrant Resource Centres and Multicultural Services across NSW) Roumeliotis sits on the NSW Government’s Justice Multicultural Advisory Committee, the Federal Government’s Settlement Services Advisory Council, and Co-Chairs the NSW Joint Partnership Working Group coordinating the NSW component of the additional intake of 12,000 refugees from Syria and Iraq.

Born in Bankstown in the late 1950s to economic migrants from post-WWII, fleeing civil war in Greece, Roumeliotis’s family arrived in Australia in the mid-

Violet Roumeliotis, INDVSTRVS, Joanne Leila Smith, SSI, Settlement Services International

Violet Roumeliotis – on Restoring Dignity

With nearly 1 in every 100 people worldwide now displaced from their homes since the end of 2015, NFP agencies like Settlement Services International (SSI) are needed now more than ever. Voted by Pro Bono Australia in 2014 and 2015 as one of the top 25 most influential people working in the not-for-profit...


Michael Lloyd-White, Joanne Leila Smith, INDVSTRVS, World Kindness Australia, World Kindness Movement, WKM

Michael Lloyd White – A Heart Leader

Like many fantastical heroes, Secretary General of The World Kindness Movement, Michael Lloyd-White didn’t plan to become a Captain of Kindness. By choosing to not remain silent when he witnessed a systemic culture of bullying at his daughters’ Primary School he was propelled onto a path that revealed meanness is bigger than one...


CEO Women's Community Shelters Annabelle Daniel

Annabelle Daniel – A Social Franchiser

Sheltering women in our communities who are homeless due to domestic violence is a wicked problem. While it’s firmly on the national agenda and awareness has increased, so too has the demand for services and housing. We talk to the Emerging Female Leader Winner at the 2016 Women’s Agenda Leadership Awards, Annabelle Daniel...


Audette Exel, Adara Group, Joanne Leila Smith

Audette Exel – A Social Justice Venturer

When we think of two worlds colliding, we may imagine ensuing chaos. In the example of Audette Exel however, convergence is the start of something beautiful. We chat with a humble, yet hugely-spirited, NZ-born, 2016 Leading Philanthropist Award winner about leadership, social justice and breaking down walls in our minds… By Joanne Leila...