A new youth centre in Mt Roskill, Auckland, is providing a wrap-around service for the health and social needs of young refugees.
Launched by the Refugee Youth Action Network (RYAN), the centre will be a place where young people can access support in education, training and employment by having the opportunity to use computers and other resources, says team member Yolande Jones.
“We want the centre to run a range of workshops, like healthy living and music, and we’re planning to have an open kitchen, recreation, computers and sports areas,” she says.
Mt Roskill and Glen Innes have the highest densities of former refugee populations in New Zealand and they often experience disparities in health and social outcomes.
Young refugees face specific issues, including difficulty in adapting to New Zealand’s culture and, because their English is often better than that of their parents, they are also expected to take on adult responsibilities such as interpreting for the family when dealing with officials.
The RYAN project, which is being supported by an ASB Community Trust grant over three years, has already turned into a highly collaborative project, not only between community organisations but between the many refugee communities in the area.
Refugee Council of New Zealand Secretary Kailesh Thana says RYAN will help overcome the growing problem of youth being affected by drugs, gangs and at-risk behaviour.
To find out more, visit www.rasnz.co.nz/