Update on 3 December
Thank you to everyone who attended the Refugee Information evenings held in conjunction with Catholic Social Services. The evenings featured speakers from the Refugee community, Red Cross, and other NGOs involved in the sector. They were held in Wellington, the Hutt Valley and Porirua. Those of you who attended please ensure that you share with the others in your parish what you got from the evening.
More information is coming … keep an eye on Movement for further updates.
Fr Stephen King
Archdeacon for Mission
Parishes Working in Support of Refugee Families
The Parishes of Kelburn and Miramar-Seatoun-Strathmore recently had the opportunity to support two families from refugee backgrounds to move into Island Bay and Strathmore in conjunction with the Wellington Refugee Family Reunification Trust and Sisters of Compassion.
These families were being reunited with a family member who was already in Wellington. The brother of the family moving into Island Bay explained he hadn’t seen his brother for 25 years. He was extremely excited, but it was also a huge job setting up a whole house for a family of eight by himself. Volunteers from these parishes coordinated donations needed to finish setting up the houses from crockery and kitchenware, to beds, bedding, linen, toys and scooters for the kids, cleaning gear, a fridge, washing machine and pantry items. Local school fairs offered their leftovers and items were sourced from parishioners’ workplace networks and via www.neighbourly.co.nz.
The brother of the Island Bay family commented on this support “…NZ does something great bringing my family here. It is the best country in the world. Thank you is not enough…”.
Volunteers from the parishes are continuing to support the family with study enrolments and other practical support. The mother of the Strathmore family, who has been here for several months already, was very keen for a first job and was able to connect with a parish family in the area with preschoolers who were looking for a cleaner.
Some of the highlights for the parish volunteers have been the joy of seeing the families together again after so many years, and the way that these donations mean families don’t have to go into debt to set up the houses. Also it has been lovely to deepen links with our friends in the Catholic Diocese who have been working in this area.
There is one family reunification case of an Afghani family who are looking for a three bedroom house in central Wellington suburbs. If you know of a suitable flat please contact Mel McKenzie on 021 0270 4835 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Update on 11 November
Thank you again for your generous response to Bishop Justin’s request for support for refugees. When his request was made, very little was known about what kind of assistance would be needed.
We now know a little more. We know that the first 85 Syrian refugees will arrive in Wellington in late January 2016. Settlement and integration into communities under the Government Refugee Resettlement scheme is run by the Red Cross. Refugees are resettled in Auckland, Hamilton, Palmerston North, Wellington and Nelson. Our direct engagement with Syrian refugees will be through our support of the Red Cross. The following document explains what the Red Cross does:
We have been specifically asked by the Red Cross to help source volunteers in the Hutt Valley and Porirua. If you are interested in this opportunity to help, please read the following documents:
As well as supporting the Red Cross in the resettlement process, there will be specific needs that we will be asked to assist with, once the refugee families are in the country. We will be using Movement and our network of Cluster/Parish coordinators to spread the word on these needs. Please keep an eye out – we will need your help.
Working Partnership with the Catholic Church
The initial announcement of our intention to offer support to resettle refugees was made by Archbishop Philip Richardson and Cardinal John Dew. The opportunity for us to respond together (Catholic and Anglican) is one that we continue to build. There will be a series of joint information evenings held in Wellington, Hutt Valley and Porirua covering:
- How the New Zealand Government welcome refugees
- What contexts the refugees come from
- What it is like to resettle – what helps or hinders
- What the long term needs are
- What training is needed for volunteers
- What we can do (individually or as a group) to help
The dates, times and venues are:
- Wednesday 18 November from 6.00pm to 8.00pm at St Joseph’s Church, Brougham Street, Mt Victoria, Wellington
- Wednesday 25 November from 6.00pm to 8.00pm at Holy Name School, 164 Mungavin Avenue, Porirua
- Thursday 26 November from 6.00pm to 8.00pm at St Bernadette’s Hall, 190 Naenae Road, Naenae, Lower Hutt
Below is a flyer for parishes to print out and display:
To register for any of these evenings:
- Telephone Catholic Social Services on 04 385 8642
- Email email@example.com
I look forward to seeing you at one of these evenings.
Fr Stephen King, Archdeacon for Mission
04 471 8590