Refugee aides work to­gether

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By KA­RINA ABA­DIA

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.’’

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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.’’

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