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

Te Punanga: Refugee Focus

ISSN 1178-0940 August, 2010

News & Issues

The Annual New Zealand Diversity Forum is being held at the Christchurch Convention Centre on Sunday 22 and Monday 23 August.

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The theme this year is "It's About Us" and the forum provides a unique opportunity for those concerned with refugee issues to share best practice, discuss practical solutions, review the past, plan the future, acknowledge positive contributions, network and be inspired to contribute.

The following sessions focus specifically on refugee issues:

Other sessions at the Diversity Forum of interest to the refugee sector include:

There is no charge for weekend workshops or single forums; however attendance on Monday 23 August is $50 for the day. Register NOW.

Amnesty International Aotearoa is seeking information to allow it to respond more fully to Australia’s suggestion of establishing a regional processing centre. This would target asylum seekers arriving by boat in Australian waters and is currently being proposed as a “Pacific Solution”.

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According to Margaret Taylor, Activism Support Manager for Amnesty International, "The Pacific Solution ended in 2008 because it breached international law, damaged Australia's international reputation, was not effective in stopping asylum seekers from arriving, and inflicted further suffering on people, the majority of whom were not breaking any laws but were genuinely fleeing for their lives."

With the aim of adding light to the debate, Amnesty International has created two fact sheets, Refugee, Asylum Seeker and Migrants Rights and Asylum Seekers and Refugees: Debunking the Myths.

For more information, please contact Margaret Taylor or visit the Amnesty International Aotearoa website.

Refugees as Survivors New Zealand (RASNZ) has recently engaged in a collaborative venture to establish the Refugee Youth Action Network (RYAN).The initiative involves the Umma Trust, Ethnic Youth Trust, Ministry of Social Development, ASB Community Trust, and refugee advocacy groups.

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The purpose of RYAN is to create an environment which motivates and inspires young people to to fully participate in New Zealand society. One key strand of RYAN is comprehensive career assessment, and guidance and preparation for training, work readiness and job experience.

RASNZ are inviting expressions of interest from leading, innovative and highly competent career practitioners and coaches who would be prepared to learn to work cross-culturally in relevant, responsive ways.

Expressions of interest are also invited from career practitioners and services to prepare the consultations regarding the nature, extent and costs of career guidance and coaching.

The preferred provider may be contracted during the launch of the full RYAN project in early 2011.

Expressions of interest should be addressed to Dr Arif Saeid, Manager, Community Services and the deadline for submissions in the initial round is 15 September 2010. Shortlisted providers will be interviewed and the preferred provider selected by the end of October, with preparation to go operational in early 2011.

You can download the RYAN information sheet here or visit the RASNZ website for more information.

Southern Moon Productions have recently released an updated version of the educational video A Girl From Glen Innes. The film features Tinmama Oo, a 13-year-old refugee from Burma, during her final year at high school.

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Tinmama tells her own story about her journey from a Thai refugee camp to New Zealand, why her family had to flee Burma, and how she has adapted to her new life.

The DVD includes the original 28 minute video plus a 10 minute catch-up with Tinmama in 2010. As she graduates from Auckland University, she talks about what graduation means to her, her Kiwi identity, and the ongoing fight for democracy in Burma.

Developed in line with the Social Studies curriculum and produced for use at the intermediate school level, the DVD has also proved useful for ESOL classes and others interested in the transition from refugee to New Zealand citizen. An 18-page Study Guide, with curriculum links, fact sheets and photos, is also available for use alongside the DVD.

Full details can be found on the Southern Moon website or for more information, contact Jude Smith.

The Southern Corridor Project is a socially engaged arts project between and within the Māori, Somali and artistic communities in South Wellington.

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The Southern Corridor Project is a pilot project for Eko Theatre and has proved a learning curve for all those involved. As the end of the creative development phase draws near, there have been many meetings between diverse peoples and discussions on the use of Te Reo Māori, Somali and English. Often the focus is on how this may inform artistic venture.

At the end of August there will be two weeks of rehearsal, with two professional actors and two emerging actors from the Somali community working with the creative team and director Heather Timms. This work will feed into a public performance and installations in early 2011.

For more information visit the website or contact Lisa Maule.

Khadra Mohamed, a refugee from Somalia, has recently taken up a newly-established national role as Client Relationships Developer for English Language Partners, formerly ESOL Home Tutors.

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Khadra understands more than most what it's like to arrive in a new country without being able to speak the language. When she arrived in New Zealand in 1999, her English was limited to the phrases "How are you?" and "I'm fine thank you". Now, eleven years later, Khadra is fluent in English and is currently studying at Waikato University towards a degree in public policy.

Khadra is hoping her new job at English Language Partners New Zealand will inspire others to become successful in their adopted country. It is Khadra's job to develop the relationships English Language Partners has with its clients. This means involving migrants and refugees in management, on committees, in shaping and even in delivering the services.

With a network of 22 centres throughout the country, English Language Partners helps more than 8000 newcomers overcome language and social isolation barriers each year.

Read the full article "Learning language key to successful career" online and for more information visit the English Language Partners website.

Future Events

On Wednesday 25 August, the annual Asylum Forum will be held specifically for asylum seekers and Convention refugees, and for those who work with them. It is co-ordinated by government and non-government sectors to provide an opportunity for information sharing and discussion with the wider community.

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