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July 17, 2017 | by  | in News |
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Women’s Election Hui

ChangeMakers Refugee Forum hosted an event on July 6 to educate and empower women from a refugee background about civic engagement.

The Women’s Election Hui was attended by over 40 women from the local refugee community, and included a speech from Vice President of New Zealand National Refugee Youth Council, Nasra Abdi; a question and answer session with deputy leader of the Labour Party Jacinda Ardern and Green Party MP Denise Roche; and performances from the Colombian Dance Group and the South Sudanese Dancers.

Polls often show that the number of refugee women who vote is very low. The event was held to inform women of the importance of voting, and their right to do so.

It was a message taken up by Ardern and Roche when they introduced themselves to the panel, with Roche stating of women voting, “there is a power in being able to determine your own destiny.”

Mozhdeh Wafa, Process Manager of ChangeMakers Refugee Forum, was happy with how the event ran, saying “we wanted to give [the women who attended] the empowerment of knowing their rights.”

“Maybe they didn’t have the chance back in their home country, but this is something they are going to have for their new life in New Zealand, and as a citizen they have the right to vote.”

Abdi, who is also a third year politics student at VUW, stressed the importance of young refugees voting.

“Young refugees have a lot to share and a lot to say, and this is a great opportunity for them to say, I voted and I want someone who I trust and whose policies I know in government.

“When the election results come in you can definitely complain and say I don’t like who’s in charge. I don’t think people have that right unless you actually vote.”

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:   I wanted to write this piece, in order to connect to all tauira within the University, with the hope that we can all remind ourselves that we are a part of an environment which is valuable, no matter our culture, our beliefs or our skin colour. The ultimate purpose of this