In 2003, a small initiative called Settling In got underway in Auckland and Hamilton. The approach was to empower refugee and migrant communities by supporting them to pool resources and ideas to find their own solutions and shape their own destinies. The modest starting out budget encouraged innovation and collaboration from the outset.
The communities involved decided to celebrate 10 years of Settling In by capturing their stories in a publication. In June 2014 they launched 2003 – 2013 Working alongside refugee communities: A decade of Settling In stories from the Auckland and Hamilton communities.
Ann Dysart, Family and Community Services, managed the programme at that time. She acknowledges the stories of dedication, strength and sheer hard work.
“Life for many refugee families is fraught with challenges and hardship, but I am constantly amazed by the optimism and enthusiasm that these New Zealanders so often bring to their work and their lives”
“These stories are testament to this positivity and strength – we should draw inspiration from them and from these communities who have so much to offer.”
Koyna Ali and Khatra Omar are both nursing students and are involved in the Women’s Organisation of the Waikato Muslim Association where they have been supported and trained as leaders in their communities.
“It is amazing what you can do when you are given the responsibility,” says Khatra.