The Warmth of a Kiwi Welcome

On September the 19th, over 1500 ARISE Volunteers gathered together for SERVE Day 2021 — a day where the church is encouraged to make a difference in the community. The day was organised by our care arm, ARISE Care. This year one of the focuses of SERVE Day was to help refugees who have fled Afghanistan settle into local life.

Over the last few weeks, the donations received on SERVE Day helped provide support to 86 Afghan refugees who have arrived in New Zealand seeking a new home and life.

Panatswa, a member of the ARISE Care Team describes the experience of one Afghan family:

“We went to deliver household items and food to an Afghan family that had just arrived in New Zealand. They were so happy so see us, the Dad was telling us how their first night here they slept on the ground because their house had nothing, and there was no power. All of the family had huddled around their baby to keep warm. We were able to drop off heaters and blankets, and fill their pantry with food — all items donated at SERVE Day. We helped them install a dishwasher, showed them how to use it, assembled a cot for their baby, and delivered more furniture. All the time they just kept repeating how thankful they were. Not all of them could speak English but they just said thank you again and again.”

James Duxfield, the head of ARISE Care describes the experience of serving:

“We count it a blessing to be able to do what we can to make the transition a little easier.”

This is just the beginning as hundreds more people from Afghanistan arrive in New Zealand over the coming months. ARISE in partnership with Red Cross, will continue with our aim to provide every Afghan refugee family with a welcome care package of pantry items, as well as essential household items to set up their new home.

It is our prayer that every refugee that arrives in Aotearoa would find a safe home here.


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