What’s On

The Refugee Experience

The Refugee Experience

Date & Time

May 17, 2022 - 12:30 pm to 1:30 pm

In person talk with guest speakers from Refugee Council of Australia

Join Deena Yako and Samah Shda from the Refugee Council of Australia for an interactive discussion to learn more about refugees and their experiences in coming to Australia, including:

  • An introduction to the refugee journey: who refugees are, where they come from and what we can do to support.
  • A personal account from Iraqi refugee Samah Shda and her journey to safety in Australia.
  • How can we welcome refugees into our community?

Deena and Samah will also spend time answering your questions on general refugee conditions and what the Refugee Council is doing to help refugees integrate into Australian life.

Send us your questions ahead of the event: tkc@smsa.org.au 

All questions received prior to Friday 13 May will be added to a list and the presenters will answer as many as they can during the event. If time permits, questions from the in-person audience will also be addressed.

Event Details

This event will be held in person at SMSA’s Henry Carmichael Theatre at Level 1, 280 Pitt Street Sydney.

Free event – registration to attend this event is essential due to limited capacity.

For a guide on how to register your attendance at our events using Eventbrite, click here.

About Deena Yako

Deena is a refugee advocate who utilises her personal experience of surviving and thriving as a refugee in her work as an educator, practitioner and inspiration. Deena has been directly involved in refugee resettlement for more than 14 years and has been a co-founder of several thriving programs, supporting refugee young people and their families.

Deena is currently coordinating the education program at the Refugee Council, where she has broadened the focus of RCOA’s Face to Face program, taking it from schools to wider community and business audiences. Deena holds a Diploma in Community Welfare and a Bachelor in Youth Work. She has used her expertise and lived experience to mentor and inspire refugee women in the community. Deena currently sits on several management and advisory groups relating to refugee advocacy and resettlement and is an active member of her local community.

About Samah Shda

Samah is a development professional with over 6 years of experience in refugee protection, community development and refugee access to education. Currently, she works at the Refugee Council of Australia, coordinating the Face-to-Face Schools and Community program. She also leads a research project on refugee access to higher education at the University of New South Wales.

Samah has been a public speaker and an advocate for refugee rights and protection since her arrival to Australia in 2019 after years of displacement violence following the 2003 war in Iraq. She is passionate about sharing her refugee journey in public platforms to raise awareness about the refugee conditions and advocate for her community. Samah believes in higher education for refugees as a leadership skill and a way to invest in impactful and long-lasting integration for refugee communities into their host societies.


Free event – all welcome. 


Mask wearing is strongly encouraged.

Please be mindful of social distancing.

If you are feeling unwell with COVID-19 symptoms (however mild), please do not come in. We encourage everyone to regularly check the NSW Health website and follow their advice.

The health of our members, visitors and staff remains our priority and we appreciate your cooperation and patience.

Images courtesy of the Refugee Council of Australia

Past Event

This is a past event. View and register to attend our upcoming events.

What’s On at SMSA

Date & Time

May 17, 2022 - 12:30 pm to 1:30 pm


Sydney Mechanics' School of Arts, Pitt Street, Sydney NSW, Australia

Henry Carmichael Theatre

280 Pitt Street Sydney NSW 2000

Level 1


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