WelCom March 2018: The government announced on 26 January 2018 four community-based organisations chosen to be the first in New Zealand to sponsor refugees under a new pilot programme. The programme is called Community Organisation Refugee Sponsorship Category (CORS).
The four organisations are Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand; the Society of St Vincent de Paul, Nelson; South West Baptist Church, Christchurch; and Gleniti Baptist Church, Timaru.
Around 30 sponsored refugees from Jordan or Lebanon are due to arrive by June this year. The refugees will undertake a two-week programme at the Mangere Refugee Resettlement Centre.
For the first two years, the sponsoring organisations will organise accommodation, furniture and household goods, and community orientation for the refugees. Services will include helping with enrolling with GPs, schooling, English-language classes and finding employment.
Caritas Aotearoa NZ will lead the co-ordination of the pilot programme for a number of Catholic organisations. The NZ Catholic Bishops Conference have endorsed Caritas as the Church’s lead organisation.
Caritas Director Julianne Hickey said, ‘Pope Francis reminds us of the many gifts that migrants and refugees bring: courage, skills, energy, tenacity, aspirations, and culture. We are excited to open our hearts and communities to these families.’