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Volunteering and Ethnic Communities

3 March 2005

Volunteering and Ethnic Communities

Members of ethnic communities need more help to become involved in voluntary organisations, a recent report has found.

The report Volunteering and Ethnic Communities: A Dialogue with Ethnic Communities, by the New Zealand Federation of Ethnic Councils in collaboration with the New Zealand Citizens Advice Bureaux, found that some of the barriers to ethnic groups becoming involved in voluntary groups, included volunteer awareness in the group, inappropriate selection procedures by voluntary organisations and lack of targeted funding from the Government.

Pancha Narayanan, President of the New Zealand Federation of Ethnic Councils, said he believed the three big obstacles to people from ethnic communities volunteering were language barriers, costs and the traditions of the existing organisations. He said people often volunteered for events within their own culture but not always outside this. We want this to change in that we would like to see more ethnic volunteers in mainstream organizations. Having a balance of volunteers will benefit both host organizations and ethnic communities generally. This report outlines how we can achieve this.

Mr Narayanan believes that by working together with mainstream voluntary organizations, initiatives can be implemented that will increase the number of ethnic volunteers. “We must work together on this issue to bring about change”.

The Federation has secured funding to proceed with two major initiatives which will address these challenges. These are leadership training and showing community groups how to build relationships with other agencies.

This report will be launched during International Volunteer Week on 10th March 2005 in Wellington

ENDS

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