World Refugee Day celebrations
The dream of refugees is to be able to live a normal life.
Some 2500 former refugees now call Manawatu home. Escaping from war zones, political troubles and famine, and following lengthy stays in refugee camps, many have endured atrocious treatment and conditions before finding resettlement here.
World Refugee Day is acknowledged on June 20. In the words of United Nations Secretary-General Ban KiMoon: ‘‘Refugees are people like anyone else, like you and me. They led ordinary lives before becoming displaced, and their biggest dream is to be able to live normally again. On this World Refugee Day, let us recall our common humanity, celebrate tolerance and diversity and open our hearts to refugees everywhere’’.
Local event organiser Jean-Christophe Massimba says in Palmerston North, World Refugee Day celebrations for Kiwis from refugee backgrounds will take place this Saturday, June 18 at the Centennial Convention Centre, with special guest, city MP Iain Lees-Galloway.
‘‘There will be dance, song and testimonies from the various communities – Bhutanese, Burmese, Afghan, Congolese, Rwanda and Somalia.’’
The testimonies involve spokespeople from these communities recount their stories, as well as report on how they are faring in New Zealand.
Jean-Christophe, once amajor in the Congolese armed forces and an aide-de-comp to former president Pascal Lissouba, arrived in New Zealand in 2006. With post-grad degrees inmaths and physics, he is now relief teaching at Longburn Adventist College.
Following the performances from 1pm – 3pm, cultural dishes and refreshments will be served at Te Manawa. For further information, contact Jean-Christophe at email@example.com
Former refugees who have resettled here add diversity to Manawatu’s population.