World Refugee Day 2023 - Supporting Refugees to Find Hope in the Face of Adversity

World Refugee Day 2023 - Supporting Refugees to Find Hope in the Face of Adversity

A weary figure steps onto unfamiliar soil, carrying the weight of a shattered past. A refugee, brimming with both hope and trepidation, find themselves in the heart of a foreign land. The city streets tell a tale of a new beginning, however, for this displaced soul, caught between a home left behind and the boundless potential of a future unknown, they embark on a fragile journey, seeking solace and belonging in the compassionate embrace of a land they now call their own.

Today, we take a moment to acknowledge the immense challenges faced by refugees around the world, and the remarkable strength and resilience they exhibit as they navigate the uncertainties of settling into new countries.  We cannot underestimate the difficulties that arise when uprooting one’s life and starting anew in a foreign land. Every aspect of life becomes an intricate puzzle, from mastering a new language to adapting to cultural norms, finding employment, and establishing social connections. These challenges can be overwheling and at times seem insurmoutable.

Language becomes an overwhelming barrier, each interaction a puzzle of misunderstood gestures and stammered attempts at communication. The simplest tasks, now become a complex maze, and if there is no support in navigating the bureaucracy and paperwork leading to the most basic necessities, these people will fall through the cracks of society, giving them an even stronger sense of alienation. 

The Loft Community Connectors/Kaitūhono Hapori regularly provide assistance to refugees in accessing essential social services, with housing being a predominate issue within this community. When needed, this support is offered in partnership with specialist social workers and/or a remote language interpretation service. Since the beginning of this year, we have successfully helped two refugees secure housing through our advocacy efforts, referrals, and partnerships with other agencies. Whai ora with refugee status who seek assistance at The Loft are met with the utmost dedication from our Connectors/Kaitūhono. We consider these circumstances with Aotearoa New Zealand’s commitment to them in mind, utilising all available resources to ensure the protection and prioritisation of their human rights, particularly their right to a safe and stable home.

If you are a refugee settling into Ōtautahi, or you know of someone seeking solace in our city and lacking support, you are encouraged to come into The Loft and talk to a Kaitūhono who would be happy to advocate and make referrals on their behalf to ease their transition into society. We are also lucky to partner with Christchurch Resettlement Services who run a clinic here every second and fourth Wednesday, from 10am – 1pm. This is a drop-in clinic where staff can assist with counselling, mental health support, health promotion, childcare and tutoring, all which can be done within the cultural and linguistic needs of the individual.

As we mark World Refugee Day, we also wanted to acknowledge the contributions refugees bring to their host communities through their diverse perspectives, rich cultures, and unique skills. By embracing these individuals and fostering an inclusive environment, we not only provide them with a sense of belonging but also create an opportunity for mutual growth and understanding.

It is our collective responsibility to ensure that refugees receive the support they need to rebuild their lives and thrive in their new homes, we can make a difference in their journey towards self-reliance and empowerment. Let us stand in solidarity with refugees and work towards building a world where every person, regardless of their background or circumstances, can find hope, safety, and dignity.

Ngā mihi.

« Back to blog