Refugee aides work together
Helping former refugees start a life in New Zealand is a goal for many service providers.
Now they can do that more effectively, Auckland Refugee Community Coalition (ARCC) general manager Abann Yor says.
The ARCC held the first Refugee Sector Auckland Regional Summit on November 7, with a focus on collaboration.
Held at the Onehunga Community Centre, the event brought together NGO, government and community stakeholders.
Yor says it reinforced the fact that organisations and individuals in the sector want to co-operate to help former refugees to integrate, participate and have a voice.
‘‘We need to continue to collaborate and make sure the services we provide to former refugees are relevant to their needs.
‘‘It’s an opportunity for ARCC to reach out to community leaders and make sure they feel empowered and are able to impart information.’’
Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment refugee and protection national manager Andrew Lockhart agrees the key is for different organisations to work together.
The New Zealand Refugee Resettlement Strategy, which was designed to help former refugees integrate into society, was taken up by the Government two years ago, Lockhart says.
It’s important to remember isn’t a quick fix, he says.
‘‘The Government has shown a strong commitment to the longterm strategy and for the rebuild of the Mangere Refugee Resettlement Centre.’’
The construction, which is expected to be completed by the end of 2016, is a critical component of being able to support people in their resettlement, he says.
Phase one of the strategy included making changes offshore around selection and providing more information about New Zealand to applicants as well as a review of the Mangere programme.
Evaluating the resettlement programme is part of phase two, which got under way in July.
‘‘We need to understand what we expect to see from people when they leave Mangere,’’ Lockhart says.
A new driving scheme aims to take people through to get their restricted driver’s licence, he says.
‘‘There were some good ideas that came out of the summit.’’