It’s the little things that can make a big difference — and if you’re a former refugee arriving in a new home country, that might just be a fresh pair of socks or a warm new hoodie.
In the last six months, former refugees preparing to settle in Aotearoa New Zealand at the Mangere Refugee Resettlement Centre have been offered a choice of new items of essential clothing donated by Hanes Australasia.
The clothing company, which makes several popular brands including Champion, Jockey, Bonds and Berlei, has given thousands of items to New Zealand Red Cross to support our new arrivals.
The donated clothing has included underwear, socks, hoodies, tracksuit pants, t-shirts and singlets. “All these things most of us take for granted,” says Sue Price, New Zealand Red Cross Acting GM Migration, “But when you have been living in refugee camps or been recently evacuated from your country with just the clothes you are wearing, comfortable new clothes are hugely appreciated.”
New migrants have been able to choose what they need from a range of sizes, colours and styles for the whole family.
Hanes GM Brands Emily Small says “We have welcomed the opportunity to donate a range of essential undergarments and clothing to support refugees and the emergency arrivals from Afghanistan into New Zealand. We hope our contribution supports a comfier start to a new life in a new country.”
Everyone involved at New Zealand Red Cross has been excited to be able to offer the new clothing. “We want to acknowledge the incredible generosity of Hanes in making these gifts available — it’s been a great expression of manaakitanga. And the Hanes warehouse team went above and beyond to make the items available quickly for our recent Afghanistan evacuees,” says Sue.
Pathways to Settlement Manager Barb Whitaker works to help settle former refugees in Nelson. Barb says she has seen the positive impact of the donations first-hand. “Many of the families we are settling in Nelson are Karenni people from Myanmar who have been living in refugee camps in Thailand for years. Arriving in Nelson in winter was a huge shock to them so it was great to be able to offer new socks, hoodies and tracksuit pants which made such a huge difference in keeping people warm.”
Hanes have generously allowed surplus items not needed by Red Cross’ settlement teams to be sold in Red Cross Shops, which has generated valuable funds for humanitarian programmes.
And Hanes have donated more than just clothing — homeware items including bedding, towels and cushions have also been made available to refugee-background arrivals and to Red Cross Shops.
New Zealand Red Cross is the primary provider of community refugee settlement programmes in New Zealand, supporting and empowering new Kiwis as they rebuild their lives here.
To find out more about New Zealand Red Cross’ Pathways to Settlement Programme and how you can help, please visit Pathways to Settlement | New Zealand Red Cross