Community project helping former refugees adjust through arts

Jacob Johnson
Source: 1News

Adjusting to life in a new country can be difficult at the best of times, especially as a young migrant or former refugee.

One community project in West Auckland is trying to help make that transition easier, through the arts.

Not-for-profit organisation Mixit runs free weekly workshops. Over the past two weeks, a group of 20 young people from a range of backgrounds have been rehearsing for a public performance called Voices – a show created by the performers, all about their lives, incorporating dance, drama, and spoken word.

Laya Rasooli, a former refugee from Afghanistan, joined the project a year ago.

"Afghan girls are really limited, they can’t go to school, they can’t really go without a man being by their side.

"It was really challenging being a refugee but finally as I came here I was a Kiwi and everyone mentioned me as a Kiwi and not a refugee anymore."

"They’re kind of caught between two places more often than not," Mixit’s creative producer, Wendy Preston, said.

"We have to keep connected with ESOL units in schools, we keep connected with the Māngere Refugee Centre, with every intake of incoming former refugee families."

Two performances of Voices will be open to the public on January 22 and 23 at Corban Estate Arts Centre in Henderson.