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Settling into a new country is a challenge. Auckland’s Northcote Baptist Church (NBC) is making it that bit easier for Asian parishioners through the Migrant Integration Programme, in which settled immigrants help more recent arrivals.
Initially offering courses like English for the Elderly, the Migrant Integration Programme has broadened thanks to contributions from volunteers – many of them younger migrants who enjoy connecting with an older generation.
Classes on Chinese calligraphy and language have proved popular with both Kiwis and migrants, allowing inter-cultural exchange. Another course helps migrant parents familiarise themselves with the New Zealand education system.
“The education of our children is an arduous task, especially in a different cultural environment,” observed Grace Li, mother of a two-year-old girl. Li and her husband attended NBC’s parenting course, and are now feeling more confident about raising children in New Zealand. The efforts of more than 20 volunteers have benefited over 140 participants, confirmed Northcote Baptist Church Pastor, Yongjun Dong: “The programme has helped Chinese migrants to settle, and improved mutual understanding between them and Kiwis within the local community.”
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