Collaboration raises profile of our former refugees

Hundreds of people swarmed across the National Portrait Gallery on June 20 observing images of former refugees in work, their families and their communities right here in Aotearoa.  The stories of their hopes, struggles, and survival beautifully written by writers Elizabeth Knox and Cybele Locke, on display with the photos.  "When I started as a care support it was a minimum wage job. You can't even dream and it's hard to survive," said Niguisse Fenja, one subject of the World Refugee Day exhibition.

The event was the culmination of months of collaboration between Changemakers Resettlement Forum and the Living Wage Movement, sponsored by Wellington City Council, AMP, E tū, PSA, NZEI, and others. Already we are talking about taking the show on the road so we can celebrate and affirm the value of this community to all of NZ.  The Prime Minister held a special meeting with the workers and their families before the exhibition, which was opened by the Minister of Finance and Wellington Central MP, Grant Robertson.

Photographer Ehsan Nazaveh says " We invite the audience and broader community to acknowledge the dignity of these and all workers and the need for workers to be paid the income needed to live decent lives, so they know they are valued for their contribution."  The exhibition has moved to the Anglican Cathedral for the next few weeks.