WISE women within ARMS reach

Staff Reporter

Auckland Regional Migrant Services (ARMS) launched its third Hub for migrant and former refuge women, aiming to support them to integrate into the mainstream New Zealand and become partners in progress.

Called ‘WISE,’ an acronym for ‘Women, Inspired, Strong, Empowered and Enterprising,’ held its first meeting at the Wise Women’s Hub at Orakei Community Centre in Auckland on May 27.

Safe Place

ARMS Chief Executive Dr Mary Dawson said that the Hub will be a safe space where women can socialise, learn new skills, become connected to relevant services, and ultimately develop small enterprises.

She said that the Hub has been financed through a grant from Settling In Fund (Office of Ethnic Communities) and support from staff at the Refugees Education for Adults and Families programme at Selwyn College and the Orakei Community Centre (Auckland Council).

Joint Initiative

The WISE Collective is a joint community project between ARMS and Auckland Refugee Community Coalition (ARCC), she said and added that Project Worker, Nanmyat Htwe will oversee the Orakei Hub.

“The WISE Women Hubs support refugee-background women to use their talents and interests.  Since coming together for social time, trainings, craft and catering activities, many of them have become less isolated, more involved in their communities, and feel more confident in talking with people,” Dr Dawson said.

The WISE Collective has hub meetings in Henderson and Mt Roskill.

Useful Courses

It also runs ethnic food catering service and food stalls, cooking classes, Zumba dance classes, craft sessions, sale of Heritage blankets, bags and brooches, and upskilling courses like Be Your Own Boss and Food Safety trainings.

ARCC General Manager Abann Yor said, “We understand the challenges that new settlers women from refugee backgrounds face when settling in Auckland. The challenges can be English language barriers, social isolation and a lack of opportunity to network and be part of social engagements. It can be very tough. This new Hub will give women the opportunity to network and to understand Kiwi culture and integrate into society in Auckland and give women positive direction in different areas.”

Further details can be obtained from Nanmyat Htwe on 021-0623027

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