New Zealanders from refugee backgrounds participating fully in New Zealand life
New Zealand can and must do more for refugees
7 December 2017
The world is facing the largest humanitarian crisis since 1945. ChangeMakers Refugee Forum is proud of New Zealand’s commitment to assist the UNHCR to build a better future for refugees, forcibly displaced and stateless people in New Zealand. However, as a country, they believe we can and must do more.
“It’s time for change and at ChangeMakers Refugee Forum we’ll be taking a lead in the conversations calling for improvements to settling our refugee background communities,” says ChangeMakers Chair, Ibrahim Omer.
ChangeMakers Refugee Forum is the only umbrella organisation of its kind in Wellington and therefore is a core part of the refugee background landscape. They actively work in partnership with other refugee service providers, central and local government agencies, not-for-profits, community groups, and funders working across the Wellington region. They also work in partnership with other like-minded organisations around the country such as the New Zealand National Refugee Network.
Throughout the year, ChangeMakers Refugee Forum continued to work with their Leaders Council who are leaders of their respective communities. They meet regularly and work to open up channels for the leaders to share their community’s settlement challenges with relevant stakeholders.
“Our work is not just theory or policy or research or statistics. For those of us working daily with refugee background communities, we know people as individuals, with real needs, hopes and dreams for themselves and their families,” says Ibrahim Omer.
“We hear their stories of courage and challenge. We share their vision to rebuild their lives, to find employment that uses their skills, to see their children educated, to build a safe and comfortable life, and for them and their families to flourish in their new Wellington life.”
To arrive as a refugee is not to remain a refugee. ChangeMakers Refugee Forum want to start changing the public narrative. Former refugees in New Zealand go on to make a vital contribution to the social and economic fabric of our nation. They work, pay taxes, volunteer, and are active members of society.
ChangeMakers Refugee Forum is committed to working towards a new understanding of how refugee background communities contribute to a better New Zealand. "We are asking you to join us. A shared voice is a strong voice,” says Ibrahim Omer.
(This is a summary of the 'Message from the Chair' taken from our ChangeMakers Annual Report 2016-2017)
Photo: Amnesty International
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.