Haere Mai, Welcome
(Picture caption: Welcoming everyone with a smile)
(Content and picture courtesy: ARMS)
Dedicated to supporting the settlement of migrants, refugees and returning kiwis into the region, Auckland Regional Migrant Services Trust’s (ARMS) initiatives and services are developed with connecting communities, promoting inclusion and community harmony in mind. Since 2003, the Trust’s team of staff, volunteers and community partners have provided specialist settlement, orientation, training and employment services for over 30,000 clients.
At the heart of ARMS’ projects is social cohesion and how the Trust can act as a catalyst to strengthen the hearts and build the capacity of our communities. Through community programmes that include; volunteering, events such as Race Relations Day and International Women’s Day, workshops, tours and collaborations, the goal is to ensure isolated families, women and young people are supported so that they have positive aspirations for living and participating in New Zealand society.
ARMS’ Chief Executive, Rochana Sheward believes that empowering people is a combination of connecting them to others in their community and supporting their development.
“The activities and initiatives we are involved in have multi-laying outcomes and benefits that include fostering and connecting communities, celebrating the diversity within communities and ensuring the voices of smaller communities are heard. We are about generating ideas to help with any challenges resettled communities face and breaking down barriers that are foreseen and experienced. We also work towards capturing recurring themes that emerge to share with community leaders, stakeholders and the wider public so we can work together towards potential solutions,” she says.
As one of the main barriers to settlement is employment, ARMS has a successful volunteer programme that assists newcomers with gaining New Zealand work experience. Additionally, the Trust hosts Job Search Workshops and Specialist Employment Workshops.
Administration Supervisor and Volunteer Manager, Sally Chu says volunteering is an effective route for newcomers to overcome a lack of New Zealand work experience in their job search.
“Volunteering not only provides a New Zealand based reference it also assists with understanding how the workplace operates. In addition to volunteering attending workshops like the interactive Job Search Workshop is effective. The workshop is designed to provide a clear job search pathway intended to help with navigating the New Zealand business culture and employment environment. You also get an opportunity to create a CV and cover letter suited for the jobs you’re applying for,” she says.
Collaborating and working closely with Auckland’s service providers and community groups, ARMS’ partnerships allow for the ongoing co-design of projects in response to community needs and trends. For the past eight years, the Trust has two flagship partnership programmes with Auckland Resettled Community Coalition (ARCC) offering the Safari Multicultural Playgroups and WISE Collective weekly hubs throughout Auckland. The WISE Collective supports refugee background women to develop the necessary knowledge, skills, confidence and resources to start-up or contribute to activities for generating income for their families through workshops, training programmes and an income generating catering service.
WISE Collective Project Coordinator, Sasi Syed Niyamathullah says WISE is about achieving transformative change in women’s lives by focusing on the five ‘E’s; empowerment, education, employment, enterprise and equality.
“Many of the WISE women have attended a range of training’s, learning opportunities and forums over the past years, including Food Handling Courses, Budgeting and Food Presentation , First Aid, Practical Driving Tips, Gardens4Health, Safety in the Community, Zumba and boxing sessions. Some of the women run regular ethnic food stalls at markets and events across Auckland. Their delicious food and catering is now in hot demand for festivals, events and meetings,” she says.
The Trust also has a partnership with New Zealand Ethnic Women Trust for the AMARTE (Auckland Migrant and refugee Training Enterprise) programme that offers tailored hospitality training for women and supports them with barista skills, baking and regulations for the industry such as food control plans.
Thus far this year ARMS has successful looked after the Newcomers Network, hosted regular Service Provider Network Huis for service providers in the resettlement sector and launched a series of Civic Dinners in Auckland to encourage courageous conversations over food.
About Auckland Regional Migrant Services Trust (ARMS)
We are a specialist settlement support agency, providing targeted programmes for skilled migrants, international students, other work visa holders, former refugees and their families. Our programmes and services are delivered in several locations across Auckland.
To find out more about ARMS visit https://settlement.org.nz
Disclosure - Eric Chuah, co-founder of Multicultural Times, is one of the Board of Trustees of Auckland Regional Migrant Services Charitable Trust.