Farewell to Mozhdeh Wafa

Mozhdeh Wafa with ChangeMakers Board

Photo: Mozhdeh with the ChangeMakers Board, Rochelle Stewart-Allen (General Manager) & Matharr Bayo (Intern)

ChangeMakers Refugee Forum Chair, Ibrahim Omer, says the organisation is farewelling its Operations Manager this week.

“Mozhdeh Wafa has made a valuable contribution to the work of ChangeMakers Refugee Forum over the past two years as both Chair and Board Member, and this year taking over the day-to-day operational management of the organisation,” says Ibrahim.

“We’ve appreciated Mozhdeh’s calm and practical manner and passion to support our 14 refugee background communities in Wellington.”

Mozhdeh started as a ChangeMakers Board Member in October 2015 when she finished her degree studies at Massey University and was looking for a new challenge. “I wanted to learn more about governance and was interested to sit on a not-for-profit board. Given my background arriving in New Zealand as a refugee myself from Afghanistan and Iran, I knew I could use my experiences to help guide the organisation.”

“Being on the Board and working in the organisation opened up new networks for me, helped build my confidence in public speaking, and allowed me to use my position to challenge the status quo when it’s been needed,” Mozhdeh says, “It’s been important for me to say what I feel and speak up when things aren’t right.”

Mozhdeh has been encouraged by the passion the staff have for their work and says they really care about the people ChangeMakers serves, rather than just seeing their roles as ticking boxes. “I’ll take so many memories away with me – from the International Women’s Day ‘Ride a Bike’, to people’s happy faces when they finally get their drivers licenses, to helping asylum seekers begin their settlement in New Zealand. It makes me happy to see people from refugee background communities flourishing and making use of the opportunity that is given to them by coming to a safe country,” explains Mozhdeh.

As Mozhdeh takes time out on parental leave, her longer-term goals are to continue to grow her management and leadership skills. “I’m very grateful for the constant support from my husband and my family. I am very lucky to have this blessing and I am forever grateful for all the love that I receive. I want to keep being inspired by my role models to continually give back. I want to show women who wear hijab can take on leadership roles and do well if they work hard and prove to others that coming from a different culture and religion does not stop them achieving well in New Zealand. If every day I learn one word or one good thing, that’s enough for me,” says Mozhdeh.

Mozhdeh Wafa with the Governor General, Dame Patsy Reddy at Government House on Waitangi Day in 2017

Mozhdeh Wafa with the Governor General, Dame Patsy Reddy at Government House on Waitangi Day in 2017