Migrant volunteer workshops on

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Breaking down barriers . . . Migrant volunteer workshops onBreaking down barriersVolunteering Otago manager Leisa de Klerk (left) and migration volunteer programme co-ordinator Casey Lochead are preparing for the migrant volunteering workshops to be held in March. PHOTO: JESSICA WILSON

Volunteering Otago is hosting two workshops aimed at breaking down barriers for migrants.

The first is for migrants and former refugees who are interested in volunteering.

Volunteering Otago manager Leisa de Klerk said Volunteering New Zealand had created a strategy to help get migrants into volunteering.

“It’s a four-hour workshop that helps break down some of the barriers for people who don’t necessarily know what it is to volunteer or how to volunteer in New Zealand.”

Anyone new to Dunedin and keen to get involved in volunteering was welcome to attend, she said.

The workshop, to be held on March 24, will cover health and safety, what is involved in a police check, the kinds of organisations that need volunteers, and volunteers’ rights and responsibilities.

Ms de Klerk said many former refugees might not understand what volunteering was, so that would be taught as well.

“The idea of unpaid work is not something they’re used to.”

Volunteering Otago migration volunteer programme co-ordinator Casey Lochead, who joined the team via the Ministry of Social Development, said many were not used to the idea of volunteering.

“Some mostly just help out their friends and family,” Ms Lochead said.

Volunteering Otago was also looking at creating a buddy programme for volunteers who needed extra support, and to keep the work up long-term.

Interpreters would be available at the workshops.

The second four-hour workshop, on March 26, is for organisations that might employ migrant volunteers.

It would inform organisations what migrants wanted from volunteering and the challenges they would face, Ms de Klerk said.

“Some of them may speak better English than people realise and even if they don’t. they can still contribute in meaningful ways.”

Volunteering Otago is one of the first centres in New Zealand to host the latter workshop.