The number of refugees worldwide, the severity of the conditions they endure, and the need to address their plight is extraordinary. As Christians we are called both to respond to injustice and care for the marginalised.
Red Cross are expert in the field of receiving and supporting refugees and we strongly recommend you partner with them to help provide effective relief. To explore their training programmes or read some suggestions about other ways to help see below.
A great opportunity to help out in our community and to become a Refugee Support Volunteer (RSV) is coming up. The role is to support a UN-quota refugee family during their first 3 months of resettlement in Hamilton: setting up a house, introducing the new arrivals to NZ culture, assisting them with doctor’s registrations, school enrolments, finding their way around their new community etc. More information on our website: https://www.redcross.org.nz/what-we-do/in-new-zealand/refugee-programmes/volunteer-help-former-refugees/
A free training course with the Red Cross starts on Thursday, 11th May to prepare volunteers for the refugees arriving in Hamilton in June. In five training sessions, you hear about the refugee experience and how we can help with resettlement in Hamilton.
The schedule is as follows:
Thursday 11th May,
Thursday 18th May,
Thursday 25th May,
Thursday 1st June and
Thursday 8th June.
Timing: For all five sessions you can choose to come either in the morning from 9:30am-12:30pm or in the evening from 6-9pm.
Location: NZ Red Cross building on 422 Te Rapa Road.
If you are interested and available to support a refugee family for at least 3 months (up to six), please contact Shally Arora via email: Shally.Arora@redcross.org.nz or phone/text at 07 960 7285/021 228 2065.
If you live too far from Hamilton and it wouldn’t work for you to be a Refugee Support Volunteer, please contact Shally to ask for the information sheet “Other ways to help Refugees”.
Making things that can help with making a house into a home for people is very practical.:
- Covers for arm rests on couches, or for where the head goes along the top
- Colourful cushions
- Mats and rugs
- “snake” draft excluders
- Christmas ornaments
- Children’s toys e.g soft toys
- Anything that helps turn a house into a home, e.g. picture frames, ornaments, tea towels, peg bags, plastic bag holders
- Pencil cases or book bags for school
Some other ideas of ways to help refugees could be;
- Organising a fundraising project for specific things for families settling in the Waikato e.g. a lawn-mower, bicycle, Holiday hampers for the families arriving in December
- Fixing up second-hand bicycles to donate, or fundraising for bike pumps, tools and puncture repair kits so that children can cycle to school or adults can cycle to their English language classes.
- Donating small household goods (i.e. not furniture, but things for setting up kitchens, bedding, garden tools, etc.) that will help turn houses into homes for refugee families who resettle in New Zealand.
- Let us know if anyone in your network of friends in Hamilton could give someone with a refugee background a job, which is a key part of the resettlement process. This can be organised through the Red Cross’s Pathways to Employment programme.
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