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 jc­mas­


For­mer refugees who have re­set­tled here add di­ver­sity to Manawatu’s pop­u­la­tion.

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