Day of Prayer for Refugees and Migrants

WelCom June 2019: Te Rā Karakia mō te Hunga Rerenga Rāhui me te Hunga Manene Sunday, 23 June 2019 | Rātapu, 23 o Hune 2019 Helping new families in our communities…

WelCom June 2019:

Te Rā Karakia mō te Hunga Rerenga Rāhui me te Hunga Manene
Sunday, 23 June 2019 | Rātapu, 23 o Hune 2019

Helping new families in our communities

Dave Olivier

Day of Prayer for Refugees and Migrants Archdiocese of Wellington

Volunteers helping to set up new homes in Wellington for former refugee families. Photo: Supplied

One of the main areas in which Catholic Social Services in Tory St Wellington are blessed to have received support from many parishes and schools, is helping us gather donations towards setting up homes for former refugees settling into the Wellington region. We have recently settled the second out of six intakes for the year and are most grateful for the support.

Another side of our work is the counselling and social work we provide to support former refugees settling in Wellington and much needed help for them to engage with the New Zealand system.

Where this work is most gratifying for our team is we are on the only agency in Wellington that provides counselling and social work services with the use of interpreters. Part of the reason why other agencies don’t provide this service and therefore refer to us is the cost of the interpreters.

Cardinal John Dew has asked for us to continue with this work and service – a duty we perform with great humility. The costs for providing interpreters remains a constant fundraising challenge for us and we never seem to have enough, but we are determined to provide this key to open doors for our clients in the future.

The use of interpreters allows us to break the cycle of family isolation, relieve their stress by helping them engage with schools, WINZ, housing services and other services to get the assistance they need to settle in our country and have the best possible opportunity to do so until they have mastered English.

If you have ever been in a foreign country where there is little or no English spoken you will appreciate and empathise with this plight.

Many thanks to those who have supported us in this work through the Care Appeal and The Catholic Social Services 1000 Club.

This is just one example of the many different facets of the work we do on behalf of the Cardinal and the Archdiocese to support those on the peripheries.

‘Go you are Sent’.

Dave Olivier is Director Catholic Social Services, Wellington.

Community, Solidarity, Encounter

Day of Prayer for Refugees and Migrants Archdiocese of Wellington

Mosaic featuring Naritas. Image: Stefano Maria Girardi

Every year the New Zealand Catholic Bishops set aside a Day of Prayer for Refugees and Migrants on a Sunday close to World Refugee Day 20 June. This year the prayer day is Sunday 23 June – the Feast of Corpus Christi. It is an opportunity to pray for refugees and migrants everywhere and to connect with some of the challenges they face.

To help support parishes welcome former refugees and migrants into communities, Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand has produced a set of materials on ‘community, solidarity and encounter’.

The resources also support Caritas Internationalis’ Share the Journey campaign ‘The future is made of us, let’s share the journey’. This campaign, launched in 2017, calls for action to create more inclusive communities, for example a shared meal with former refugees and migrants, a global solidarity walk, and exploring cultures through art.

Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand’s materials this year include a mosaic from Caritas Internationalis. It features Nasrin, 21, who works with Rohingya children as part of Caritas Bangladesh’s efforts to provide safe spaces. It also features hundreds of photos of migrants and refugees, world leaders, business leaders and Caritas staff. The message is that while we are all very different, we are part of one humanity.

The mosaic is inspired by Pope Francis’ surprise TED Talk in 2017, titled ‘The Future You’ in which he spoke about power, interaction and the future. He said, ‘…the future is, most of all, in the hands of those people who recognise the other as a YOU and themselves as part of an US. We all need each other’.

Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand has welcomed an evaluation report on Community Organisation Refugee Sponsorship, released 14 May, by MBIE.

The government approved the CORS programme as a pilot scheme in June 2016. It has been piloted since 2017–18 for admission for up to 25 refugees. Last year, four community organisations were approved as sponsors and welcomed six families of 24 people to New Zealand.

The Catholic community were successful applicants to be community sponsors. Caritas is the umbrella organisation for a partnership that includes the Catholic Diocese of Hamilton, the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem of NZ, the St Addai’s Chaldean community and the Babylon Chaldean Society of Hamilton.

Julianne Hickey, Caritas Director, said ‘the report shows the pilot has provided an opportunity for community organisations to actively support refugee settlement and build welcoming communities. There is a lot of interest in community sponsorship as a pathway to welcome refugees, especially after the success of similar schemes in Canada and the UK.

‘Caritas will be working with our partners, other community sponsors, MBIE and Immigration New Zealand to continue developing a CORS pathway that will welcome, promote, protect and integrate former refugees into our communities.’