Refugee women are being given the chance to share their skills with West Auckland thanks to a community project.
The WISE Collective is a community initiative that provides support to women with refugee backgrounds.
Through attending the hubs' women are provided with training, knowledge and given resources to help them generate an income with their skills while adjusting to a new society.
Vestine Nyimbona is one of those women the collective has helped.
Originally from Burundi, she had to flee her country when she was eight years old.
"Life was horrible. We had to flee to Tanzania and we lived in a tent in a refugee camp for 11 years.
"We lived off green beans and maize for that time."
Ms Nyimbona moved to Massey in 2005 and is now a registered nurse looking for work.
Layla Razai also moved to Massey in 2005 after spending most of her life in refugee camps. She came to New Zealand with her six children.
"I spent 22 years in a camp in Iraq and two years in a camp in Jordan.
"When I arrived it was very hard because I couldn't speak English but now I am in ESOL classes."
Project co-ordinator Heather Tanguay has spent years working with refugees and says society needs to make life easier for those who have escaped their countries to come to New Zealand.
She says the hubs have already supported women to sell ethnic food at the New Lynn Night Market and community events.
"I believe refugees are so brave in the life that was forced upon them - everyone deserves a second chance.
"Refugees are not faceless people, they are women with families who want to start a new life."
The WISE Collective Hub Massey gathering meets every Wednesday from 10am at the Church of the Good Shepherd, 6 Moire Rd.
A new WISE Collective Hub will start up in Henderson next on Monday, October 14 from 10am at Henderson Baptist Church, 321 Great North Rd, Henderson.
Phone Heather Tanguay on 818 8809 or 027 699 5480.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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