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Newsletters > Diversity Action Programme > Te Punanga: Refugee Focus > 2010 > May

Te Punanga: Refugee Focus

ISSN 1178-0940 May, 2010

News & Issues

World Refugee Day (UNHCR)

The theme for World Refugee Day is ‘Home’. The United Nations High Commission for Refugees Regional Office in Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and the South Pacific would like to hear from people about how they are planning to celebrate the day.

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The UNHCR has a range of posters, including this year's poster, and resources available to order. Resources include Convention and Protocol Relations to the Status of Refugees; Protecting Refugees, an information booklet on UNHCR's role protecting refugees around the world; Internally Displaced Persons, Questions and Answers on UNHCR's role in protecting internally displaced persons.

If you or your organisation is planning an event for World Refugee Day, please email us too and we will publicise it on our webpage dedicated to the day.

Refugee Services Aotearoa New Zealand is celebrating the day in Wellington- see the Future Events section for more information.

Diversity Forum 2010

This year’s Diversity Forum will be held in Christchurch, from 21- 23 August, with the theme ‘It’s about Us- Whānau’. There will be a forum on ‘Refugee Issues- Nothing About Us Without Us’ on Monday 23 August. The Diversity Forum webpage is now live, and will be updated with forums as they are confirmed.

Diversity Forum will be held in Christchurch, from 21- 23 August, with the theme 'It's about Us- Whānau'. There will be a forum on 'Refugee Issues- Nothing About Us Without Us' on Monday 23 August. The Diversity Forum webpage is now live, and will be updated with forums as they are confirmed.

Following the Refugee Health and Wellbeing Conference ‘Looking Back and Moving Forward’, organisers made a submission to Hon Dr Jonathan Coleman, Minister of Immigration. The submission written by the Refugee Council of New Zealand Incorporated and AUT University is available to read on our website.

he Refugee Health and Wellbeing Conference 'Looking Back and Moving Forward', organisers made a submission to Hon Dr Jonathan Coleman, Minister of Immigration. The submission written by the Refugee Council of New Zealand Incorporated and AUT University is available to read on our website.

Richard Towle, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Regional Representative, was interviewed on Radio NZ by Chris Laidlaw on 2 May.

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He spoke about the situation for refugees, asylum seekers and humanitarian workers, and the increasing numbers of internally displaced people. You can listen to the interview.

Refugees as Survivors New Zealand, Aramoana Adventures of Ngati Wai, the Ministry of Youth Affairs and the Ministry of Social Development are joining forces to run series of leadership development courses for three groups of 30 refugee background youth.

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Aramoana Adventures have been running programmes for 'at risk' young people for other twenty years, and this initiative will encourage these young people to learn about mana whenua and tikanga, and to share their own cultural heritage. Young people from Ngati Wai will also be closely involved in the programme.

The camps will include abseiling, rock climbing, kayaking, orienteering, and safety, survival and bush skills. Those who complete the courses will participate in the 'Refugee Youth Action Network', in Auckland and Hamilton. The courses have been established in response to community consultations conducted by RASNZ, and concern about some refugee background young people becoming involved in crime and gangs. The first group of young women will start the programme on 28 May, and the next two groups of young men will begin in June. You can contact Refugees as Survivors New Zealand for more information (09 270 0870).

The Auckland Refugee Community Coalition has initiated the establishment of a trust to financially support former refugees pursuing family reunification. While trusts to support the process currently exist in Wellington and Christchurch, there isn’t an equivalent organisation in the Auckland region.

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The organisers have outlined the intended purpose of the trust as "to raise and distribute money so that refugee families can be reunited in NZ." Costs associated with reunification include lodging applications with the NZ Immigration Service, medical and other documentation, and airfares and visas.

A number of people have expressed interest in becoming trustees, and a meeting will be held on Thursday, 10 June at 7.30pm at the Wesley Community Centre to form to the trust. People with key skills are sought, including events management, publicity and fundraising, layout and design. Donations and donations 'in kind', such as photocopying and resources are also sought.

Contact Sue Elliot or Jenni Broom to find out more.

Refugees as Survivors New Zealand is undertaking a National Research Project on Family Reunification, Mental Health and Resettlement Outcomes.

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Chaykham Choummanivong, Clinical Psychologist and director of the research project, explains "This research is very much an objective scientific inquiry into how family reunification may affect people who arrive from refugee backgrounds." The project will combine an international literature review with detailed local level research in the key settlement areas of Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington and Christchurch. Participants will include those who have experience post-settlement family reunification and those who have not.

The project is being conducted by RASearch, the RASNZ research section, and is supported by the Community Research Committee of the Department of Internal Affairs and the Open Society International Foundation. For more information, contact RASNZ (09 270 0870).

The Auckland Refugee Coalition and the Auckland Regional Migrant Services Charitable Trust have combined to establish a multicultural playgroup for preschool children and parents: “a professional and stable early childhood provision for refugee children alongside a range of opportunities for parents to participate in learning opportunities for themselves, such as English classes.” Contact Auckland Regional Migrant Services for more information.

d Refugee Coalition and the Auckland Regional Migrant Services Charitable Trust have combined to establish a multicultural playgroup for preschool children and parents: "a professional and stable early childhood provision for refugee children alongside a range of opportunities for parents to participate in learning opportunities for themselves, such as English classes." Contact Auckland Regional Migrant Services for more information.

Refugee Young Leaders’ Project

Changemakers Refugee Forum’s youth leadership project has kicked off, with participants from Afghan, Burmese, Oromo, Rwandan, Sudanese and Zimbabwean communities.

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The refugee-background youth will participate in workshops on project planning, budgeting and fundraising, and will be supported by mentors. They will then run youth projects in their communities. Proposed projects include mother tongue workshops, basketball teams, music and dance workshops, and putting on plays. The project is supported by G Trust, Presbyterian Support, St Andrew's on the Terrace and Rotary Wellington, and the young people are currently seeking support to get their individual projects going.

You can find out more on their 'Give a Little' page.

English Language Partners Christchurch has been running literacy and sign language lessons for a group of five deaf refugees in the city.

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The classes have been described as a lifeline for the students, facilitating communication and working to prevent experiences of isolation. Joanna Bliss, English Language Partners Christchurch manager, is hoping to secure more funding for teachers support, saying that the number of students in the class had doubled over the past six months and was likely to increase as more refugees arrived in the city.

Tertiary Education Minister, Steven Joyce, has floated a two-year delay for eligibility for student loans for ‘new residents’ to the country. Heather Hayden Chief Executive of Refugee Services Aotearoa New Zealand, said the organisation would “be very concerned if there was any barrier at all to refugees as new citizens in New Zealand being able to access tertiary education.”

ucation Minister, Steven Joyce, has floated a two-year delay for eligibility for student loans for 'new residents' to the country. Heather Hayden Chief Executive of Refugee Services Aotearoa New Zealand, said the organisation would "be very concerned if there was any barrier at all to refugees as new citizens in New Zealand being able to access tertiary education."

Power of Football project

Four young men from refugee backgrounds have organised a three month indoor football competition, based on a grant from FIFA.

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In a bid to provide opportunities for young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds in Auckland, Tewodros Tefera, Vayse Azimi, Biruk Belachew and Yonas Gebre Michael will be scouting for talent from those communities, particularly 14- 25 year olds. The group were recently acknowledged in the Commission's On the Bright Side newsletter.

Webhealth, an online directory of health and social services, has added a function for users to customise and print their own directories.

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Regions included in the service are Waitemata, Auckland, Counties Manukau, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Lakes, Taranaki and Canterbury. After selecting the appropriate region, users can select the 'Service type' they would like to search for, such as 'New Settlers' or 'Kaupapa Māori'. This will bring up a range of service providers, which can be selected and added to 'print list'. It is not recommended to select more than 35 organisations in one print. There are currently over 160 migrant health organisations lists, and new organisations can add themselves to the directory.

Contact Webhealth for more information (0800 932 432).

‘Girl from Glen Innes’ Update

A newly released DVD updates the story of Burmese refugee, Tinmama Oo, featured in the 2004 video ‘A Girl from Glen Innes.’

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The 10-minute update accompanies Tinmana on her graduation from Auckland University. The graduation is particuarly significant for Tinmana's family, as her parents were unable to graduate in Burma following the military closure of universities in 1988. The original video was developed in consultation with Social Studies teachers and aimed at students from Years 8- 13. The new DVD combines the original material with the update.

Find out more online or by emailing the creators.

Future Events

Christchurch Resettlement Services is organising a Youth hui for young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds on 22 May.

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National Resettlement Forum

Don’t forget about the National Refugee Resettlement Forum, organised by Department of Labour, to be held in Wellington on 26 and 27 May 2010. Contact Koskwa Shoniwa for more information.

ARMS is running a range of free orientation programmes and settlement information workshops over the next few months.

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Workshops for Youth Week

To mark Youth Week 2010, Shakti Community Council is organising a day of workshops for youths from migrant and refugee communities to get together, share their experiences and talk about issues that affect them in a comfortable and safe environment.

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Settlement Support Manukau, Auckland Regional Migrant Services is holding a workshop for people working with clients who speak another language.

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A meeting will be held on Thursday, 10 June at 7.30pm at the Wesley Community Centre to form the Auckland Refugee Family Trust. Contact Sue Elliot or Jenni Broom to find out more.

World Refugee Day in Newtown Park

Refugee Services Aotearoa New Zealand, in partnership with Wellington City Council, Rotary Club of Wellington and Wellington-area former refugee communities, is celebrating World Refugee Day 2010 on 20 June at Newtown Park, and Mt. Albert Park in Wellington.

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