“Imagine for a moment that you have just travelled around the globe to land in a foreign country where you don’t speak the language, know nothing about its culture and ways, have no community of support, and own nothing more than what’s in your bag…”
University of Auckland alumna Nosia didn’t have to imagine this, because for a time, it was her reality. In 2005, Nosia and some of her family arrived in New Zealand from the Central African Republic of Burundi. She and five other University of Auckland students are the subjects of a photography exhibition telling the stories of students from refugee backgrounds.
Led by the Equity Office – Te Ara Tautika, the exhibition celebrates how the University supports a fair and inclusive place to study for students from refugee backgrounds and their achievements both here and internationally.
Each story is underpinned by persistence, self-belief and success in the face of staggering international statistics (from the UN Refugee Agency, June 2018 http://www.unhcr.org/figures-at-a-glance.html).
25.4 million refugees are displaced annually
Only 102,800 are resettled
July 2018 saw New Zealand raise its refugee quota for the first time in 30 years – from 750 to 1000
The exhibition is on display in the Quad from 13-17 August. Keep an eye out for the photos on campuses across the University.
The Equity Office would like to thank each of the students involved for sharing their stories and being a part of the project. They would also like to gratefully acknowledge Chris Rollins from CAI for his beautiful photography.
“If you are a refugee student, big congratulations. It is an amazing achievement to get here. Don’t forget to get involved with University activities, join clubs – don’t think you have to do this on your own. Know who you are and don’t give up until you achieve what you want to.
To staff, thank you for supporting us, for recognising that we need you. Thank you for caring. We are here to achieve something and to have you supporting us means so such.
If you are a non-refugee-background student, just be approachable, be a friend. Being a friend can change someone’s life.”
– Nosia (Central African Republic of Burundi) Bachelor of Laws (LLB), University of Auckland