HARDA is 20 years old!

HARDA is 20 years old!
HARDA officially became an incorporated association in November 2003. Our founder and first president, the late Omar Hassan, was a passionate advocate for the refugees and migrants who arrived in Sydney in the early 2000s.
HARDA’s vision has always been to help people from the countries of the Horn of Africa to settle in Australia.
Over the years, HARDA has run many projects and fund-raising appeals in Australia and overseas.
This work would not have been possible without all the volunteers who have dedicated time to HARDA. We are also grateful for the organisations and individual donors who have provided funds for our work.
HARDA’s biggest benefactor has been the Edmund Rice Centre, which has given us a home from which to operate. Our particular thanks go to Phil Glendenning for his unwavering support.
Last but not least we thank the communities for their participation and their trust.
Hopefully, HARDA can continue its work for many years yet.
Sajjad Versi

Settlement Council of Australia (SCOA) Media release

The Settlement Council of Australia (SCOA) welcomes the Federal Government’s package of reforms announced on Monday designed to address migrant worker exploitation.

The Minister of Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs, Andrew Giles committed to introducing three important protections for migrant workers: protection against visa cancellation; flexible visa requirements for future sponsorship visas; and a short-term visa to bring claims for wages they are owed and hold exploitative employers to account.

SCOA has long been advocating for reforms to migrant worker exploitation and visa protections. Led by the Human Rights Law Centre, Migrant Justice Institute and academics at UNSW and UTS, SCOA joined a nationwide coalition of 40 organisations to urge the Federal Government to implement whistleblower safeguards that would empower migrant workers to report instances of exploitation without jeopardising their visa status.

SCOA Chair Melissa Monteiro said: “Adequate safeguards and protections to stamp out exploitation of migrant workers are long overdue and these reforms will empower migrant workers and hold non-compliant employers to account.”

SCOA CEO Sandra Elhelw Wright said: “We are thrilled with this outcome and commend the Government for taking measures to improve conditions for migrant workers. This is an incredible achievement that has been made possible thanks to the tireless campaigning by organisations and individuals dedicated to addressing exploitation.” 

“Settlement services play a crucial role in protecting against migrant worker exploitation. Migrant workers may face language barriers and cultural differences that make it challenging to navigate their rights and seek help. Our network of services provides essential information to migrant workers about their rights, labour laws, and available resources,” Ms Elhelw Wright added.

The new measures will:

  • Make it a criminal offense to coerce someone into breaching their visa condition;
  • Introduce prohibition notices to stop employers from further hiring people on temporary visas where they have exploited migrants;
  • Increase penalties and new compliance tools to deter exploitation; and
  • Repeal section 235 of the Migration Act which actively undermines people reporting exploitative behaviour.

SCOA looks forward to working with the Government on these reforms to ensure all migrants and refugees are free from exploitation. 

About The Settlement Council of Australia 

The Settlement Council of Australia (SCOA) is the peak body representing services across Australia supporting new migrants and refugees. We are committed to building an Australia where every migrant and refugee feels at home, together with our membership which is over 115 members strong and counting. We are a trusted source of policy advice, and a thought leader on enhancing the economic and social inclusion of migrants and refugees. The services of our members range from greeting new arrivals at the airport, through to assisting them to secure housing, learn English, make social connections, access services and find their first job. Australia’s settlement services are recognised as being among the best in the world.

2023 Swim, Survive and Socialise

The 2023 annual Harda Swim and Survive Program provided 108 kids and youth, aged 6-16 years old, with the opportunity to learn water safety and survival techniques, as well as swimming lessons. The program ran from Mon Jan 9th – Fri Jan 20th, the last 2 full weeks of the school holidays, with each child having a daily 45 minute session. It was held, as always, at the royal Lifesaving facility, Aquatic Safety Training Academy (ASTA) in Seven Hills. While the parents were able to socialise with other parents we did run a water safety session for them to increase water safety awareness in our Horn of Africa communities.

Everyone had lots of fun and made great progress on their swimming skills and capability. Harda & the community thank Dooleys Lidcombe Catholic club for their ongoing support of this much loved and enjoyed summer program.

2022 Swim, Survive and Socialise

HARDA ran the 2022 session of our flagship Swim, Survive and Socialise Program (delayed from the January school holidays due to COVID) daily over the two-week Easter 2022 school break. As always, the program was a success and the children and families who attended appreciated and enjoyed the lessons. Over one hundred participants were initially enrolled in the two-week program. Some highlights of this year’s session included:

·      The parent safety session, which was very well-received, and attended by the majority of the mothers present on the day. The parents asked a lot of questions and enjoyed doing CPR on the dummies.

·      One of our previous program participants was working as an instructor during the session, so it felt like the program had come full circle.

2023 Swimming program enrollment now open

The HARDA 2023 Swim, Survive  & Socialise, our free summer swimming program for 6 – 17yo is now open for enrollments. The 10 day program will take place on weekdays from Mon 9th Jan – Fri 20th Jan 2023. If you wish to enroll your kids please fill in this form (download link is below) ASAP & email it back to harda@harda.org.au or contact Fiona Carr on 0434 187 753 if you have any queries.

CommBank Community Donation Program

HARDA are thrilled to be included as one of the two organisations nominated by CommBank’s Sydney Markets branch to receive a funding boost from CommBank – but we need your vote! Follow the link below and enter Sydney Markets to access your local voting options and vote for us! Visit commbank.com.au/communitydonations.

Click on the link, then on Vote Now, select Homebush West or Sydney Markets as the branch and vote for HARDA!

Thanks for your support!

2022 Swim, Survive and Socialise

Unfortunately the annual Harda Swimming Program for 6-17yo to be held in January 2022 had to be postponed this year due to covid, which was very disappointing for all involved & we apologise to all the kids who were looking forward to it.

However we are hoping to run it in the Easter holidays, from Mon April 11th to Fri Apr 22nd.  This will  run on weekdays and be an 8 day program due to the Easter public holidays when it will not operate. Sessions & participants will be the same as advised for the Jan program and will be confirmed closer to the date.  If you are not already registered and want to participate or if you are and cannot make it please contact us asap. This program is sponsored by Dooleys Catholic Club and we are v appreciative of their ongoing support.

Emergency support for local communities during Covid (Jan 2022)

In October HARDA was fortunate to receive a grant from Multicultural NSW through their Empowering and Supporting Local Communities Program. This allowed us to continue to provide emergency supplies support as well as Covid and Vaccination information to members of our communities who were struggling to put food on the table due to the Covid pandemic. We also supplied 942 bottles (142lt) of hand sanitizer (sourced through Good360 Australia) and 8,000 masks to the South Sudanese and Somalia communities.

End of Year party

We recently held a small celebration to mark the end of another year of our successful Jobs for African Migrants Program. Although the lockdown provided additional challenges, thanks to our wonderful mentors and participants, we were able to keep the program running and found jobs for many of our program participants. We’re looking forward to helping more of them find work next year!

Assistance to Homeless in Sydney

HARDA has done three projects to support the Homeless in recent years, all in partnership with Brothers in Need and each funded by a $5,000 donation by Global Aid Foundation

Support for Homeless May 2020

HARDA, in partnership with Brothers In Need, organised the distribution of 200 sleeping bags to homeless persons in Martin Place, Central Station, Parramatta and Wollongong.

Support for Homeless 2018

In winter of 2018 the program distributed 176 high quality sleeping bags and hygiene packs in Martin Place and Parramatta park.

Food for Homeless May 2017

In winter of 2017, with the assistance of the organisation Brothers In Need, HARDA distributed food and hygiene packs in Martin Place and Parramatta Park.