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RMS Refugee Resettlement is the national resettlement agency for quota refugees. Primarily a social work agency, it connects refugee families with volunteers for the initial six months of their resettlement to help them adjust to their new lives.
Volunteers are central to the resettlement work, as they provide practical support and assistance to refugee families arriving from often traumatic and war torn situations, and gain an enriching experience being part of the process of transforming lives.
New Zealand annually resettles up to 750 quota refugees who can’t return home safely, because of war or persecution due to their race, religion, or political beliefs. Here in New Zealand they have the opportunity to start a new life, but it is often a difficult process. Unlike migrants who make the decision to move and have the opportunity to return, refugees leave home suddenly and without being able to say goodbye to loved ones. It takes a long time for refugees to be able to find, trust and open up to a new community.
Volunteers for RMS Refugee Resettlement help refugee families move into their new home and adjust to the differences in culture and way of life that we lead here in New Zealand. They mostly provide logistical support for the initial 6 months after arrival, such as learning about community services and how ATM machines work. More importantly however, volunteers provide invaluable friendship to people who have been forced to abandon their own support system of friends and family.
Most volunteers find their experience results in rewards they'd never anticipated. The motivation to volunteer usually stems from wanting to meet people from other nationalities and to give something back to the community. However most find that seeing life from the perspective of a refugee gives them real appreciation of not only what they had, but what is truly important in life. And that in giving to others we receive so much - a fantastic experience, new friends and a new cultural perspective.
Interested in being a RMS Volunteer Refugee Support Worker?
RMS offers a 20-hour NZQA accredited training course for volunteers. Training sessions run on Wednesday evenings for 7 weeks, after which volunteers are placed with a refugee family for 6 months to help them rebuild their lives in their new communities. The next training course starts on Wednesday 3rd October at 7pm.
For more information please contact Chandra at (09) 621 0013 or Chandra.email@example.com
See www.rms.org.nz for Wellington, Nelson, Palmerston North, Christchurch and Hamilton contacts