Monday, 29 May 2017


Red Cross Refugee Centre - Guest Speakers - Helene and Maria
- 1000 refugees in NZ each year, 170,000 migrants.
- Syrian examples - Some people choose to leave and take asylum, some go to UNCHR Refugee Camp.
- Case Report is done here to profile the family - Reasons for leaving etc.
- What are the requirements to be able to come to NZ? NZ does not discriminate. We take those who do not speak English, those who are severely disabled etc.
- We take people from all over the world. They go to the Mangere Resettlement Centre.
- At Mangere (6-8 weeks) they have health assessments, referrals to the hospital, English language assessments.
- All families go to Work and Income - They apply for residency (They must be here for 5 years and then they are able to apply for citizenship)
- 8 week rotation - Arrival day on a Friday. 7am in the morning they get on a bus and come down to the centre on Boundary Rd.
- 26 June next lot of families come.
- They are allocated a volunteer family who take them home, feed them, take them to Work and Income appointments, take them to the supermarket, teach how to make payments, help with understand the language, doctors visits.
- All furniture is provided by the centre - often no phone, TV and internet.
- What would be the first thing that you would take if you had to leave?
- Families can be separated - Stories shared.
- It is not easy to move to a new country - many families have had to leave people behind, contact with back home is difficult (need for phone/internet).
- Most refugees have no idea about NZ it is just a word - many are uneducated and may not have looked at a map before.
- They don't have cars and they don't know how to drive - some have never had to find their way and many have never left their house.
- The social workers visit the families - support for 9-12 months (Pathway visits).
- Challenges - Bills, health, family troubles, bullying at school, managing children and other responsibilities, transportation, 

How many people do you work with?

Settlement Support Team - Made up of social workers/cross-cultural advisers/case workers.

How long have you been working with the Red Cross?
3 years.

Why do you support refugees when there is poverty within NZ and people here that need support?
Always wanted to support refugees, realised that she could help from here and did not need to go overseas to help. For every refugee that we take we change their life - The difference that refugees make to our country is huge.
We can't change the whole world but we can help one step at a time.

Do other countries take refugees?

Canada, USA, Europe

Have you ever had just children come without families?
Not in NZ but when I worked in London yes because the borders were very different to here. I don't think that NZ Immigration would take a minor.

Where do most of the refugees come from?
Syria, Burmur, Columbia, Pakistan, Somalia.

How many people do you have come each arrival day?
Roughly 35 people coming to Hamilton each week.

Why did you choose to work for the Red Cross?
Mostly because of the values of the organisation - they make me want to aspire to be a better person each day.

How do the refugees pay to get to NZ if they have to get a flight?

Immigration NZ pay for flights, certificate of identity (like a passport) and other documentation.

Are any families ever unable to support themselves?
In statistical analysis after 5 years refugees do better than the average NZ born person.

What keeps you in this profession?
Little moments like taking a family to the Circus and seeing the children's reaction - they are always so thankful - we are giving them wonder new experiences that they may never have had the opportunity to have in their home country.

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