Catholic partnership approved to sponsor refugees


Caritas, as one of four organisations approved for the new Community Organisation Refugee Sponsorship (CORS) programme, will lead the coordination of a number of Catholic organisations who will support a refugee family to settle in New Zealand.

The other organisations taking part are:  Gleniti Baptist Church (Timaru), South West Baptist Church (Christchurch) and the Society of St Vincent de Paul (Nelson)

The pilot intake will consist of up to 30 refugees now living in Jordan or Lebanon.

The CORS is designed to:

  • Provide an alternative and additional form of admission for refugees to New Zealand, to complement the annual quota.
  • Provide an additional opportunity for community organisations to actively engage in refugee resettlement, and to build local communities that welcome refugees.
  • Enable sponsored refugees to quickly become independent and self-sufficient in New Zealand.

“We believe this programme will have many benefits for the refugees, the community organisations, and New Zealand communities,” says Caritas Director Julianne Hickey.

The Catholic partnership was created by Suzie and Pat McCarthy who took pilgrims to meet refugees who had fled from ISIS militants.

Upon their return, they established a partnership between the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem (their religious community) and other Catholic organisations in Auckland.

The Catholic Diocese of Hamilton joined the partnership because of a government requirement that refugees must be settled outside of Auckland.

The partnership was formalised by the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference, which endorsed Caritas as the lead organisation.

“Each organisation has a skill or area of expertise they can contribute to the resettlement process,” states Mrs Hickey. “By working alongside other organisations, we demonstrate what it means to be a community.”

For the first two years, sponsoring organisations undertake to provide rental accommodation, core furniture and household goods for the refugees they sponsor, plus community orientation and services, and help to find sustainable employment.


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