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RMS calling, anyone out there?

26 October 2005

RMS calling, anyone out there?

RMS Refugee Resettlement, a non-profit organisation which helps refugees settle into their new life in New Zealand is looking for more volunteers.

The organisation has launched an intensive volunteer drive this month to show people just how much of a difference one friendly, open-hearted person can make to the life of refugees arriving in New Zealand.

The organisation hopes to gain 50 new volunteer recruits by the end of the year. Although this number may seem small compared to volunteer numbers for other not for profit organisations, their contribution to RMS will see great results.

“Volunteers are the backbone of RMS and without their help and support successfully settling refugees into New Zealand society would be almost impossible” says RMS’s Auckland coordinator, Jill Conway.

“Auckland’s high employment and long commuting hours seem to contribute to the ‘volunteer fatigue’ being felt by so many volunteer organisations, as they see volunteer numbers drop”.

She says “volunteering for RMS is challenging work involving commitment and responsibility but brings with it great rewards”.

RMS’s nationwide volunteer programme focuses on assisting refugees during their first six months in New Zealand, but the friendships formed in that time often last for years.

Marie de Lambert, who first volunteered for RMS nearly eight years ago, says of her refugee family, “although communication was difficult at the beginning, they were always very appreciative [of my efforts] and I have been welcomed into and included as part of their family”.

New volunteer recruits participate in a specially designed training programme before being assigned to work in small teams with newly arrived refugees. The programme is approved by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority and is designed so that all support workers can qualify for the RMS Certificate in Refugee Resettlement Support.

The RMS Refugee Resettlement volunteer drive will direct its main focus towards telling the stories of volunteers who have already benefited from their volunteer experience. Volunteers like Marie are only too happy to tell of their great experiences working with the RMS Refugee Resettlement programme.

RMS posters and brochures will be on display at community centres and local churches during October and November. Those interested in finding out more about becoming a volunteer can visit www.rms.org.nz


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