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Wednesday, 20 March 2019 11:04 pm

Refugees say bullying part of New Zealand culture

Jun 20th, 2011 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News, News

ONE LANGUAGE: Collabor8 members, from left, Noella Dushime, Enatha Musabe, and Promise Iradukunda. Pictured on front page, Collabor8 member Makuei Aken.

FISH and chips, the hongi and rugby are not the only parts of Kiwi culture young refugees have to get used to – bullying is another every-day experience.

Collabor8, a group of eight youth from refugee backgrounds, highlighted the issue in a short drama performed at World Refugee Day celebrations at Hataitai Velodrome yesterday.

“We didn’t know bullying before we came here to New Zealand,” says Collabor8 member Noella Dushime, 15.

“We’re here to raise awareness, to ask teachers to help, and to try to stop bullying in schools.”

Collabor8, with members from the Burmese, Rwandan, Sudanese and Iraqi communities, have been devising the drama for the last 10 months, with the support of Voice Arts Trust and ChangeMakers Refugee Forum.

The group want to help people understand that bullying is an everyday reality for young people with refugees backgrounds.

They also want the adults around them to do something about it.

“I get bullied every day at school,” says Collabor8 member Noar Mohammad, 15. “It seems like no-one does anything about it. I would like to see bullies punished more.”

The drama also highlights the lack of understanding parents have of bullying in schools, and the impact it can have on their children’s mental health.

DANCE MOVES: Dancers from the Colombian community wow the crowd.

Makuei Aken, 21, says he would like to send a message to the government and other young people in New Zealand about bullying.

“Put yourself in our shoes. The concept of culture is hard. There are challenges when you go to a new country, and we’re really just trying to get on,” says Makuei.

The World Refugee Day celebrations included plenty of food, performances from Colombian and Burmese dancers and two muddy football matches.

The second football match was played between the Refugee All Stars, the communities’ best players, and a Wellington invitational team.

The invitational team included players such as Wellington Central MP Grant Robertson, former Wellington city councillor Rob Goulden and Radio New Zealand’s Kathryn Ryan.

The match was drawn, 3-3, and it was the first time the Refugee All Stars had not beaten the invitational team in the match’s five year history.




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