OUR VISION - Women who are happy, fulfilled and connected with other women, able to support their families, their community, and to reach their own potential.
Please note: These gatherings are for women of refugee background only.
Women's Steering groups
We contintue to facilitate three women's steering groups (Porirua, Hutt and Wellington) so our work is informed by these women. The top priority across all three areas in 2012 was obtaining a driver licence.
Other priorities included for ChangeMakers to organise a day trip for women and children, sewing classes, learning how to overcome barriers to obtaining work created by limited English proficienty or wearing a hijab, and learning to swin.
Over 90 applications were received for our pilot women's driver licence project. Seventy women attended the compulsory information sessions held in each part of the Wellington region to prepare for professional driving lessons. Learners will then be matched with a trained volunteer to practice their newly acquired driving skills.
The driving licence programme has been led by an advisory group of women from communities and women who have taught refugee-background learners to drive.
The programme is possible due to the generosity of Wellington women who have committed to sponsoring individual learners to cover the cost of professional lessons. Most of the sponsors have agreed to continue sponsorship for a further two years to help sustain the project. We are extremely grateful for their support.
By popular request, we held another women’s festival in January 2013.
More than 80 women attended from 13 refugee background communities across the region, and many young women. Our Steering Group decided it should be an opportunity for women to have time out, to dance each other’s dances and to get to know one another from across communities. Many wore traditional dress. Coffee was made in traditional style by a woman from the Oromo community and followed a shared lunch brought by the participants.
Summer Day Out
More than 150 refugee-background women and children from 9 communities boarded buses from Wellington, Porirua and the Hutt Vallery for a day out at Queen Elizabeth Park in Paekakariki in January.
Games, food, free ice-cream, and sandcastles made for a perfect summer outing and helped build connections between women from across communities. Wellington City Council kindly provided a wide range of sporting equipment for women and children to enjoy during the day.
Overcoming barriers to work
ChangeMakers and MCLaSS jointly facilitated a workshop that discussed the challenges that refugee-background women in Porirua face securing employment and identified solutions to address these challenges. Twenty-five women attended teh workshop that included presentations by MCLaSS's job brokers, local employers and from Work and Income.
Thirty women enrolled for Introduction to Computers courses held in the Hutt and Wellington in the last term of 2011. For several people attending the courses, this was their first experience learning computer skills. Thr courses were made possible through funding from Wellington HIgh School Adult and Community Education, and the generosity of Smart Newtown and the Hutt War Memorial Library for venues and internet access.
The steering groups also organises an annual gathering for refugee-background women from across Wellington, and a mid-year local event in each part of the region.
Swimming and Recreation
Women's only swimming lessons were arranged with Wellington Aquatic Centre specifically for refugee-background women. Women in Porirua met with staff at the Porirua Recreation Centre to find out what was available locally for physical exercise and swimming activities and discuss barriers to their partcipation. We are grateful to staff at both centres.
For more information email Naomi Tocher, our Women's Network Coordinator, or phone (04) 801 5812.