Piha Opinion

Don’t protest – volunteer | Refugees

0 Comments 05 September 2015

I’m not sure how many of you have worked with NZ Refugee Service.

Here is a copy of my FaceBook post that has been shared and commented on heaps.  If you’re not on Facebook you can read it here:

Refugees: I’m not sure how many of you have worked with NZ Refugee Service.

Julia and I have volunteered with them as volunteers resettling refugees into NZ.  Unlike other countries we have an amazing reception program for the 750 we take each year.

Firstly a group of ‘resettlement volunteers’ are put through extensive training for a specific intake : country of origin, religious beliefs, special dietary or medical needs.

When the refugees arrive they are homed in the refugee reception center at Mangere and have full medical checks, basic English teaching etc.

The government sources state houses for them and the volunteers furnish them from goods sourced from their friends or community. The government gives $1200 for fridge/washing machine.

Then, the best part, the volunteers go and meet their allocated refugees at the center and take them out to meet NZ. The volunteers get the kids to school, the family registered with doctors and teach them everything they need to know just to kick on basically in NZ. Everything from turning on an oven to transport.

It’s pretty much full-time for 3 months. It’s exhausting and exhilarating and wonderful.

I believe we can and should increase our refugee intake BUT please remember we don’t ‘detain’ them. NZ has an incredibly successful settlement program that takes a huge amount of volunteer resources, training and housing.

PLEASE volunteer tomorrow to help resettle refugees if you believe we should take more. VOLUNTEERING would be a smarter move and better use of your time than protesting. Phone them tomorrow.

Again thanks to all our friends, many of you, that helped us resettle our lovely Ethiopians. This was in 2010. Happy to talk to anyone about this.  ENDS

To make contact and volunteer just contact Resettlement Program 

Many of our friends may recognize some of their donations in the photos I found and publish here for you.  Shell, now Z, gave us the moving van free.

Refugees1We are of course not able to publish photos of our beautiful Ethiopian family.  Suffice to say they are doing very well and our experience with them will give us smiles forever.   I have snuck one in of the mother making us real Ethiopian coffee.  Devine.

Julia then went on and resettled a Rawandan refugee.


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