An innovative programme uses shared meals and cultural performances to help migrants from many nations settle into kiwi life in Auckland.
It is the brainchild of Dr Khurram Malik, founder and director of the registered charity, HOPE (Humanitarian Organization for Poverty Eradication), which is based in Henderson, West Auckland.
Focused on supporting people to resettle, HOPE’s social inclusion programme brings people together. Not only do they share their culture but it also helps open doors to friendship, finding work or starting their own businesses.
We are a country of migrants
New Zealand is a country of migrants and the social inclusion programme seeks to provide a safe space where they can express their joy, boost confidence and achieve aspirations.
It provides a place to meet and connect with people from other parts of the world who also decided to leave their country of origin and come to Aotearoa New Zealand in search of better life for their whanau.
Supporting new arrivals
Participants are diverse, and include migrants, asylum seekers and refugees. Some have been in New Zealand for a few years and are able to share the valuable knowledge they have learned and show the new arrivals around. There are also participants who grew up in New Zealand who have joined the group to offer support.
Events and outings, which include bush walks and barbecues, are also popular.
Dr Malik says continents that the migrants come from include Asia, Africa and South America plus islands in the Pacific.
He says many of the new arrivals speak limited English so they benefit from informal conversations during the programme’s events.
Through the group they receive practical help with shopping and job seeking. They can also access warm clothes and parcels from the foodbank that HOPE runs.
Housing costs feed need for food parcels
Dr Malik says that because housing is especially challenging and expensive in Auckland there is a great need for food parcels. In the 12 months to 31 March 2021 the organisation gave away more than 4000 parcels and has topped 5000 for the year to 31 March 2022. The parcel contents largely come from the food rescue charity, Fair Food.
One of the women who receives regular parcels says the “HOPE organisation has helped me so much … I’m a solo mum with four kids and the food that I get every week has been very helpful and I don’t need to stress as much about being able to feed my kids.”
Dr Malik says Covid has been a factor through the loss of jobs, people having to isolate or their health being affected.
Most of the people helped by the programme live in West Auckland, but some are from south and east Auckland and Warkworth, north of Auckland.
Dr Malik says the number of migrants who have little English is greater than in the past. For this reason, HOPE also runs language classes.
Soon to start is a programme about the Treaty of Waitangi and an introduction to Māori culture.
Approved to sponsor refugees
HOPE has recently been approved by Immigration New Zealand to sponsor refugees to resettle here.
Dr Malik says the pilot programme will allow HOPE to sponsor refugees who don’t have families already in New Zealand. A sponsor agreement has been approved to enable his organisation to provide two years of support to refugees, helping them with CV preparation, job search and finding schools for their children.
HOPE has been supporting families back in Thailand, Pakistan and Nepal for some years and wants to bring them to New Zealand. The families are often fleeing religious persecution.
Dr Malik is from Pakistan where he fought against harsh penalties enforced by the country’s blasphemy law. He arrived in New Zealand in 2009 and established HOPE to help those with a marginalised voice, both overseas and in Auckland.
His work in Auckland saw him named a Kiwibank Local Hero Medallist in 2022.
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For more information:
Hope NZ website
HOPE activities 2020 and 2021 video
Bush walk video