Conference 2003 workshops looked at the issues facing refugee and migrant women trying to settle into New Zealand.
A follow up workshop with BPW members and women from local refugee and migrant communities was held in Auckland in September to review the Conference workshop reports and discuss “where to from here?”
The group identified some ideas for projects that Clubs might consider taking up. to provide some support for refugee and migrant women in their local community.
- Undertake a local audit to identify what migrant and refugee groups exist in your community.
- Have a guest speaker from a local migrant/refugee group
- Arrange joint activities with local ethnic groups, eg cooking lessons, to develop communication networks and to teach English through everyday activities.
- Develop a “BPW Buddy” network of women who would be willing to assist a refugee/migrant woman on an ad hoc basis to attend interviews, meetings, deal with officials and bureaucracy, shop in the supermarket, go to appointments, etc. Would need a volunteer to channel contacts. Promote to local refugee/migrant groups, place in public areas, etc.
- 5. Develop a list of local people who can act as interpreters for new migrants/refugees with limited English.
- Undertake a review of what is available in the local community and develop a pamphlet of local information about the banks, housing, schools & education, health services, community support groups & systems. Place in local library, CAB, doctors rooms, etc.
- Provide short, practical sessions for small groups (2-4) on specific everyday topics for those with limited English – basic computer skills, office administration, shopping and cooking, English conversation for mothers, etc. .Link course with practical experience – see 8.
- Provide unpaid work experience through BPW contacts. This would be really helpful in eliminating the “Catch 22” of needing experience to get a job, but cannot get a job to get the experience.
- Lobby local employers to provide unpaid work experience for local migrants / refugees.
- Provide short term scholarships for migrants / refugees to assist them in upgrading/ bridging their qualifications
- Develop a “BPW Buddy” support network to provide volunteers who can help new migrants and refugees to format their CVs for NZ employers.
- Provide sponsored Club membership for migrant / refugee women.
- Provide business mentoring for migrants / refugees who had a small business in their own country but need advice re NZ conditions and guidance to start their own small business here.
- Develop your own project based on the needs of the migrant and refugee women in your local community.
Transcripts of the Conference workshops and their reports have been sent out to every Club. If you would like more information or help with setting up your project, please contact me at:
firstname.lastname@example.org or Mobile 021 522 404.