Abdullah Ashori, his wife Fatima and children Athar and Adnan are settling into their new life in Ashburton since arriving from Afghanistan eighteen months ago.
The family didn’t know much about New Zealand before they came and Abdullah, speaking through a translator, said it was a culture shock when they first arrived.
Abdullah said he had a shop in Afghanistan selling iron, before that he worked as a welder.
In Ashburton he works at a scrap metal yard.
He said he misses the old job but ‘‘because I can’t speak English very well I cannot do the business I did in Afghanistan.’’
Safer Mid Canterbury refugee settlement support service has been helping Abdullah’s family and he said their support has been very good.
‘‘From the beginning to now they have supported us and it has been very good.’’
When the family arrived in Ashburton they had very little and Abdullah said they needed a lot including internet access and more practical things like a house, ‘‘all the household things, bikes to go places and kitchen items and blankets.’’
Fatima said a driving licence was also very important.
The weather is not too cold compared to their native country, but ‘‘it changes quickly, from hot to cold.’’
Abdullah misses a lot of things left behind including his parents, other family and friends.
He said his parents wouldn’t be able to visit New Zealand unless the Government helped out.
Abdullah described Kiwis as kind, good people and very supportive ‘‘this is so good that they accept refugees from all over the world and bring them to their country and let them settle here.’’
Safer Mid Canterbury refugee settlement support – volunteer coordinator Wendy Hewitt said there are four new families arriving from Afghanistan this month and she needs more volunteers to help.
Anybody of any age and background is welcome to become a volunteer she said.
‘‘If we’ve got all ages with different interests, that is ideal because the families range from pre-schoolers to adults.’’
Each refugee family has a team of four volunteers assigned to them and the volunteers can dictate how much time they would like to put in.
‘‘If they are visiting their family at least once a week, that’s good,’’ Wendy said.
Fulltime workers are welcome because weekends and after school are good times to visit the families.
Wendy said volunteers take families shopping, to sports and other activities, and show them around Mid Canterbury.
‘‘A lot of it is sitting with them and having a cup of tea and just talking to improve their English.’’
The volunteers also set up homes for the families before they move in.
Wendy is also on the hunt for donated items to help the families settle in to their new homes.
Modern reasonable quality bicycles, particularly children’s bikes are needed to help the families get around.
Other essentials include TV’s, vacuum cleaners and sewing machines, good quality warm jackets and firewood are also needed year round.
If you would like more information on volunteering or have items to donate contact Wendy on 027 244 7127 or [email protected]