What Laying out a large array of welcome mats that say “Refugees Welcome”
Who Meg de Ronde, Campaigns Director, Amnesty International New Zealand
Comedian Alice Snedden
When Monday 18 June, 12:00pm
Where Freyberg Square, Auckland Central
In advance of World Refugee Day on 20 June, Amnesty International is laying out the welcome mat for refugees. With a strong visual statement to engage the lunchtime crowd, we will have people – including comedian Alice Snedden – encouraging passers-by to take the I Welcome Pledge.
Right now, the Government is running a small pilot programme to test the effectiveness of community sponsorship of refugees here in New Zealand. It’s an inspiring new initiative that runs in addition to, and alongside, the regular refugee quota system. The difference is that individuals, communities and groups provide all of the support for new Kiwis to resettle here – helping set up homes, learning English, preparing for job interviews, getting to know their new neighbourhoods and more.
We know community sponsorship works. Canada has resettled over 300,000 refugees this way. In the process, their communities have become more welcoming and the sponsors themselves have had life-changing experiences helping families that have fled war and persecution.
But our Government hasn’t decided whether to continue the initiative after this one-year pilot.
By taking the I Welcome Pledge, we can save the community sponsorship programme by showing the Government the support and potential it has across New Zealand. If it becomes an ongoing programme, it will be a vital new way for more refugees to rebuild their lives. At the same time, it will empower New Zealanders with a new way to directly help some of the 22.5 million refugees around the world.