Access to education and socialising are taken for granted by many, but these freedoms are changing the lives of refugee families.
The Safari Multicultural Playgroup was launched last week as a free playgroup for former refugee mothers and their children.
Held at Colwill School in Massey, the group helps mothers learn how to educate their children and ready them for school and kindergarten.
Women can also participate in English classes and health and parenting sessions.
Mother of four Judy Taithul arrived from Myanmar two years ago.
She moved with her family to Ranui for a new life away from problems back home.
"Back in Myanmar my kids wouldn't go to school because we didn't have enough money, education is very expensive.
"Now they are all at school and I can even learn English," she says.
"Before this I stayed home. Now my son can play with other children and have lots of toys.
"I can also meet others who become family. Our life is better and the future is good."
Safari project co-ordinator Cherie Broome says the group helps integrate mothers and their young children into society because many find themselves isolated at home.
"The great thing is it shows the importance of play and education," she says.
"Seeing the women's confidence grow is the biggest thing because being isolated they lose more and more confidence.
"This way they receive support from other refugee women," Miss Broome says.
Families from countries including Myanmar, Afghanistan, Palestine and Pakistan are already involved in the playgroup. Many of the women travel to Massey but don't own cars or hold driver's licences.
Miss Broome says the group is looking for volunteers to help with transport to and from the playgroup.
The Safari Multicultural Playgroup is held every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 10am till 12.30pm at Colwill School, Massey.
Contact Cherie Broome on 973 2852 for more information on the playgroup or to offer transport.
- Western Leader
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