IMMIGRATION INTEGRATION Kate Taggart & Evangeline Richardson
EXISTING SITUATION A refugee is an individual who has been forced to flee their home country due to war, violence or persecution.
According to the Syrian Centre for Policy research since the Syrian civil war began 470,000 people have been killed. As a result of the prolonged period of unrest, healthcare, education systems, and other infrastructure have been destroyed; the economy has been devastated. Children are at risk and for parents this is a key factor in making the decision to leave. Children have lost loved ones, suffered injuries, missed years of schooling, and witnessed unspeakable violence and brutality. â€˜The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Regular Resettlement Programme,â€™ consists of 26 different countries including New Zealand. Since the Second World War New Zealand has resettled 33,000 refugees. Currently New Zealand accepts 750 refugees per year; a formal quota for the resettlement of refugees was established in 1987. Within New Zealand there are three ways to enter as a refugee, under the mandated quota which accepts refugees who are women at risk, for protection or if they are in need of medical support or are disabled. Secondly as a family sponsored migrant under the Refugee Family Support Category. This is when relatives who are refugees and have already been settled in New Zealand, sponsor family members who are not eligible for residence other immigration policies. Annually there are 300 places for residence under this program.
SYRIA Homs Damascus Daraa
REFUGEES ARE FROM Lastly there is spontaneous refugees or â€˜asylum seekers,â€™ this includes people who seek refugee status when they arrive at the New Zealand border, or when their temporary visa expires. This brief focuses specifically on Syrian refugees who are being resettled in New Zealand. This situation has been going on for seven years, which is such a significant period of time and for many Syrians their situation is not improving. Due to the prolonged period of conflict in Syria the public has become to ambivalent to the serious nature of the issue. There has been steps taken by New Zealand to help including sending aide and adding additional emergency places to the refugee quota but there is still more help needed.
The conflict in Syria has been occurring for seven years, with no end in sight.
Once Sara has been relocated to New Zealand she lacks family connections as her mother and father are still in Syria.
SARA GHANAM Sara was a stay at home mother in Homs, who cared for her three children aged between two and ten, her husband worked as a teacher. One day her husband’s school was raided, parents then feared for their children’s safety and stopped sending them to school. Due to this the school was shut down and her husband lost his job. Sara had become increasingly worried about her family’s safety so started to look at fleeing Syria. This was really difficult for Sara as her parents were unable to leave Syria due to her mother and fathers age the trip would be to physically demanding.
Hani is a confident kid but has struggled to pick up English, which means that he hasnâ€™t made many friends at his new school due to the language barrier.
HANI SABBAGH Hani grew up with his family in Daraa, they were safe and their lives felt secure. He spent time playing cars and hide and seek with his older brother. During the conflict their house was bombed, people from their neighbourhood were kidnapped and armed men would enter houses and arrest people. When Haniâ€™s family fled he took just two things with him a family photo album and a car his dad gave him for his 6th birthday.
Ali is struggling at school, it is so long since he has been part of a formal education program that he lacks the attention span and social skills to connect with kids his own age.
ALI KHOURI Aliâ€™s family fled Damascus and is now located in the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon, at twelve years old he is the sole wage earner for the family. Aliâ€™s father was kidnapped during the conflict in Syria and he fled to Lebanon with his mother and four younger siblings. He can no longer attend school as he spends his days selling tissues, at most he earns $4 a day. This barely covers the cost of living and he is hungry most of the time, he dreams of the days before the war in Syria but sees no end in sight.
Abdul feels unsafe walking down the street, so he goes out as little as possible. This has resulted in Abdul not getting connected with the community that he is living in.
ABDUL BASARA Abdul was walking along the street in Aleppo with a group of friends, when they were stopped and held at gun point by members of the Syrian army. A woman who was walking near by then yelled for the army to stop explaining that he was her son, the army then let the men go. They barely escaped with their lives and were overwhelmed that a woman they had never met would risk her life to save them. When he arrived home he googled how to leave Syria. He found a man that would smuggle him and his brother out of the country the next day.
BARRIERS AND OPPORTUNITIES Barrier • Currently there is no way to measure integration of Syrian refugees into their new communities. •
As most refugees didn’t speak English prior to moving to New Zealand there is often a language barrier.
Opportunity • There is an opportunity to connect refugees with other people who also lack community connections, such as elderly and people who live alone. •
There are people willing to help, this is highlighted by the number of volunteers who help refugees get settled in New Zealand through the Red Cross program.
There is the opportunity to share knowledge of each other’s culture within a model that connects refugees with New Zealanders.
If a solution for this issue was reached there is an opportunity to utilize this solution in many situations, from refugees being resettled in other countries to simply people moving to a new community.
INITIAL SETTLEMENT BEST FEELING
MONTHS IN NEW COUNTRY
DESIRED ACTION When moving to a new country most individuals will experience a range of emotions that can be illustrated using the ‘settlement curve.’
The length of the ‘settlement curve,’ depends on the individual but there are some distinct stages that the majority of people will experience. •
Fun: on arriving in New Zealand there is new opportunities, it is exciting and different.
Fright: can occur due to a bad experience, the differences between the home country can become more apparent and homesickness is common.
Fight or flight: is questioning if returning to the old lifestyle and country is the best option or alternatively fighting to make the best of the new situation.
Fit: occurs when feeling at home in the new environment.
As there is 750 people who experience the process of being resettled in New Zealand every year it is important to ensure that the current systems are as effective as possible.
HOW MIGHT WE...
Create a way to measure the integration of refugees into their new communities, to ensure that the services currently provided to refugees are effective?
RED CROSS The Red Cross has a programme that aims to settle and connect refugee families to their new communities in New Zealand.
The Red Cross has 120 trained staff and 600 volunteers that support refugees with the transition into the a community by introducing them to their neighbours, showing them how to use public transport and connecting them with services like school, banks and doctors. They run many different programmes which typically run for the first 12 months of a refugees transition into New Zealand. The programmes run include: • • • •
Settlement Support: A practical support with day-to-day settling into the community. Settlement Planning: Long term planning for the refugee and their family. Community integration: Linking former refugees families to the wider community Orientation information session: Tools needed to navigate life in a new community.
Mangarere Refugee Resettlement Center is based in Auckland
Every refugee that enters New Zealand under the Refugee Quota will spend their first six weeks in the Mangere Refugee Resettlement Centre. 750 refugees go to the Mangere Centre each year where they are prepared for life in New Zealand. On average the facility has 196 refugees on six week programmes but can take up to 300 individuals in a mass arrival. The centre helps refugees by offering English language classes, Health Screenings and Mental health services. The aim of the centre is to help refugees integrate successfully into to New Zealand which will: • Help reduce the their long-term dependence of Welfare services •
Increase their educational achievement
Increase their the number of refugees in paid employment
IMMIGRATION NEW ZEALAND The Refugee and protection unit promotes the interest of refugees who arrive in New Zealand.
The Refugee and Protection units focus is coordinating work for refugees under the New Zealand Refugee Resettlement Strategy. The strategies are: • Self-sufficiency: all working-age refugees are in paid work or are supported by a family member in paid work. •
Participation: refugees actively participate in New Zealand life and have a strong sense of belonging.
Health and wellbeing: refugees and their families enjoy healthy, safe and independent lives.
Education: English-language skills help refugees participate in education and daily life.
Housing: refugees live in safe, secure, healthy and affordable homes without government housing assistance.
NEIGHBOURS DAY Neighbours day is an annual event that happens every year in March.
Neighbours Day is an initiative that began when Rebecca Harrington was asked by Lifewise and Takapuna Methodist Church to find a way to connect and support local communities. Harrington then came to the following realisation, â€œmany people today recognise that they are isolated from their neighbors, yet are unsure what to do about it.â€? In some countries there are coordinated efforts to have neighbourhood meals, celebrations and get togethers, so this inspired Harrington to establish the Neighbours Day campaign, which became nationwide in 2011. Research shows that by knowing your neighbour there are significant benefits such as making the neighbourhood more friendly, safe, it enhances the wellbeing of individuals and the wider community.
EPIDA HOME The â€˜Epida Homeâ€™ initiative was created to reduce the language barrier for refugees. As it is common for refugees to pass through several countries all which do not speak their first language a modular sign system was created to express activities, therefore reducing the language barrier in some contexts. It is based off the idea of road signage which is universally recognised.
A common issue that stops refugees from connecting with people in their communities is the language barrier.
NO BORDERS BETWEEN US “Aramizda Sinor Yok,” is defined as “No Borders Between Us”
No Borders Between Us, is a social responsibility project for Syrian Refugees. The names of refugees were used in this project to offer understanding “their names can be beautiful and promising, as well as sad and reflecting the evil face of war.” The exclamation mark is produced by a computer offering infinite permutation, allowing a different one for every individual.
5 WAYS TO WELLBEING Managing Wellbeing among Refugees is crucial, as they are experiencing such significant changes in their lives.
Connect: Forming communities is important as is creates connections for refugees and helps them to settle into their new homes. Take Notice: For refugees it is an adjustment to feel settled and safe, as it is common for refugees to have been without a permanent home for up to seven years. Keep Learning: Learning to fit into a new culture is challenging for an individual, but is significantly worse for Refugees as have been forced to leave their country. It is common to feel a loss of identity as their culture isnâ€™t strongly celebrated in New Zealand. Give: Volunteers give their time to teaching Refugees about New Zealand and helping them adjust to a new life in New Zealand.
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Save the Children. Young Boy. 7 March 2017. www.savethechildren.org/ us/about-us/media-and-news/2017-press-releases/new-study-documentspsychological-horrors-of-six-year-war-on-syr Red Cross. Hero. 5 September 2010. https://media.redcross.org.nz/media/ images/hero-uncompressed.original.2e16d0ba.fill-1440x540-c100.jpg Fernandes, Kymberlee. Settlement to School. 19 June 2017 https://www.stuff. co.nz/national/education/93721754/celebrating-world-refugee-day-with-newrefugee-school-in-south-auckland?rm=m Whittle, Alexander. Ali. 20 March 2016. https://www.worldvision.org.nz/stories/ meet-ali-from-syria-in-360