ChangeMakers Refugee Forum

ChangeMakers Refugee Forum is a human rights organisation supporting refugee background communities in Aotearoa New Zealand. Its goal is to make a positive contribution to resettlement regionally (Wellington), nationally and internationally. This involves:

  • Supporting people from refugee-background communities to participate fully in their own community and contribute to the wider community.
  • Assisting government and non-government agencies to work successfully with those from refugee backgrounds.
  • Advocating the concerns of those communities.
  • Developing sustainable projects that allow former refugees to contribute to New Zealand.

ChangeMakers is based at the Multicultural Services Centre, 39 Webb Street, Level 3, Wellington.

For information contact ChangeMakers or phone (04) 801 5812.

Visit the ChangeMakers Refugee Forum website.

Projects 2011
Standards for Engagement: Guidelines for Central and Local Government, and NGOs Working with Refugee Background Communities

Standards for Engagement outlines ways agencies can successfully engage with refugee background communities. It covers:

  • meaningful participation
  • partnerships
  • planning together
  • information sharing
  • feedback
  • monitoring and evaluating the ‘engagement’ throughout the process.

“Standards for Engagement” was developed by ChangeMakers in consultation with refugee-background communities, government and non-government agencies.

Speakers Bureau

ChangeMakers has recently set up a Speakers Bureau to provide training and support to people from refugee backgrounds to tell their stories. The Speakers Bureau is funded by the UNHCR and its aim is to raise the profile of former refugees and increase understanding of the issues they face as they resettle in New Zealand. Speakers are men and women of all ages who come from a range of countries. So far they have addressed politicians, service organisations such as Rotary and Zonta, NGOs, school guidance counsellors, schools, and social workers in training.

Audiences have responded positively and appreciate the chance to learn more about the lives of people they often see in their communities but may have little contact with. If you would like a speaker for an event please contact us.

Wellington Regional Refugee Health and Well-being Action Plan

ChangeMakers has ongoing involvement with the Action Plan. This work includes developing, monitoring and evaluating the Action Plan.

Developing a Rights-based Approach

As part of the approach where active citizenship is fundamental to participation in a society, ChangeMakers is exploring a rights-based approach and what it means for service delivery (e.g. the Action Plan). This work is being done in conjunction with the HRC.

Changemakers Youth Programmes

ChangeMakers works with refugee-background youth (aged 13 to 29) living in Wellington. We use the principles of youth development, and take a pro-active, strengths-based approach to our work with young people. We focus on developing the unique potential and strengths of the young people, so they can be more confident, connected, able and hopeful young people in their lives and their communities. We engage with refugee-background youth in two key ways.

The Young ChangeMakers Network

This is an information network for all refugee-background youth which aims to connect them better with the wider Wellington community, including with other young people. Through a monthly newsletter, social networking and text messaging we keep refugee-background youth informed about news, events and opportunities in Wellington.

Projects and Workshops

We develop and deliver, often in collaboration, advocacy and capacity-building projects for refugee-background youth which seek to build on their unique strengths and potential. Our key youth project in 2010 is a Youth Leadership programme.

For more information visit our website.

ChangeMakers Hutt Valley Community Development

ChangeMakers Refugee Forum is working with Hutt Valley refugee-background communities to develop a Community Learning Centre that will cater for the educational needs of children and their families.

The Learning Centre will be driven and owned by Hutt Valley refugee-background communities, and governed by a Trust made up refugee-background and host community members.

Changemakers Research Programme

ChangeMakers research is guided by the priorities of refugee-background communities. We conduct, coordinate, and support research that informs refugee resettlement policy and practice in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Activities include research about family reunification and applying a human rights-based approach to resettlement processes, and coordinating a national directory of refugee-related research and researchers.

Research activities and findings are publicly available and used to raise awareness and influence policy and resettlement services.

For more information, go to the research section of the Changemakers website.

Changemakers Women’s Network

ChangeMakers understands that women who are happy, fulfilled and connected with other women are able to support their families, their community, and to reach their own potential. Women from Wellington’s refugee-background communities are working with ChangeMakers to achieve this goal.

Representatives from each community form the steering group of the Women’s Network. Each year, they identify high-priority projects and create a Women’s Action Plan. 2010 projects include computer training, driver licensing, recreational activities, sewing and craft groups, and first aid training.

Leadership training will build on women’s strengths to take key roles in their communities, as will the training of women as resource people for our Building Strong Families project.

The steering group also organise an annual gathering for refugee-background women from across Wellington, and a mid-year local event in each part of the region.

Community Projects: Drama and Resource Kit

ChangeMakers has created a drama and a resource kit to build strong families in refugee-background communities and train service providers who work with these communities. A group of former refugees developed a drama that was performed and recorded in order to produce a DVD. The accompanying Training and Discussion Booklet poses questions for communities and providers as they talk about topics such as the often difficult relationship between generations, cultural differences, pressures on families and how they are dealt with, and raising children in a new country without family support.

Funding from Family and Community Services enabled a professional director and a small number of professional actors to work alongside a group of refugee-background youth. The result was a series of six skits that were performed in three separate venues in Wellington and the Hutt Valley. The resource kit will be distributed free of charge to communities to use at future meetings and gatherings. It is available for sale to NGOs, government providers and individuals at a low cost-recovery price. To order a copy, follow this link:

To order the resource, go to Building Strong Families section on the Changemakers website.

Working with youth at-risk

Our Goal: The development of two intervention programmes for at- risk refugee- background youth (aged 12-29)

Several refugee-background communities identified concerns about young men in their communities at a November 2009 meeting facilitated by ChangeMakers. Since then we have established relationships with a number of at-risk refugee-background youth and are working with other organisations to identify potential programme components.

In February 2011 we will run two workshops with the young men to get input into and feedback on, the two programmes.

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