What does being a refugee support volunteer involve? 

Being a refugee support volunteer means helping and supporting people and families settle into their home once they leave the Mangere Refugee Resettlement Centre. This includes their orientation into the local community, enrolling with a GP, enrolling any children at school, helping with phone connections, sourcing household items, and supporting them in everyday affairs such as using public transport, budgeting, shopping and appointments with the various services they will need. It is a very busy time for everyone!

What inspired you to begin volunteering? 

Many years ago, I read of the plight of the ‘Tampa Boys’ stranded on their boat from Indonesia and responded to a subsequent request for volunteers in the New Zealand Herald.

What do you know now that didn’t when you started volunteering?

That these people are so brave. They have been through trials I cannot even imagine and have come to a totally foreign country to begin a new life. They have welcomed me into their families with warmth and gratitude and taught me so much about their diverse cultures and religions.

What is your favourite part about being a Red Cross member?

There are many favourite parts to being a Red Cross member. I have met and worked with some splendid, dedicated, supportive and diverse people who have helped me along the way. It is a great community.

Find out more about becoming a refugee support volunteer

Our volunteers are a friendly face and supportive guide for former refugees as they embark on their resettlement journey.

You can apply here: redcross.org.nz/get-involved/volunteer-opportunities/refugee-support-volunteer/