New Zealanders from refugee backgrounds participating fully in New Zealand life
Ahwa Information Hub
The word ahwa (colloquial pronunciation of qahwa) means coffee, especially the coffee houses one finds in the old cities of Cairo and Damascus – places where people socialise, gossip and tell stories. It is a place where people meet to feel connected with their community.
The “coffee club” theme is regularly used by community organisations to provide a social space for refugee and migrant communities, which often evolve into support services. Coffee clubs aim to build both a social space and an environment where important information can be disseminated.
ChangeMakers Refugee Forum’s “Ahwa” project strives to provide a welcoming space for former refugees to gather, drink coffee (ahwa in Arabic), and to foster a sense of community. It has two specific aims:
- Provide a welcoming space to former refugees
- A place where clients can speak freely about issues they are facing, and are actively part of the problem solving process.
ChangeMakers' Ahwa project is inclusive of all ethnicities and age groups, and is not gender specific.
In 2018 ChangeMakers is reviewing the way our Ahwa Info Hub runs in Wellington. The hub will not be running in Wellington while we’re figuring out how we can be most effective to support refugee background communities. During this time, if you need some support that is not met by another organisation (or if you are working with a client who needs support), please email Lucy and Ellie (email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org) at ChangeMakers to set up an appointment with Lucy, our social worker – please note that appointments are only available on Wednesdays.
For now, the hub will continue running in Naenae every second Wednesday (7th March, 21st March etc), 1.30-4pm at St David’s Church, 3 Seddon Street, Naenae. This is still a drop-in, no appointment necessary.
Our Board members with Wellington Mayor Justin Lester and MP Golriz Ghahraman
Our Board is governed by people from refugee backgrounds who represent the interests of former refugees generally rather then their communities specifically. We also have 20% representation from other communities.