• “It affects me as a man’: Recognising and responding to former refugee men’s experiences of Resettlement

      Rafferty, Rachel; Ali, Nijmeh; Galloway, Megan; Kleinshmidt, Heidi; Lwin, Khin Khin; Rezaun, Mercy; University of Otago (University of Otago, 2019)
      Former refugees bring many valuable skills and attributes to the communities in which they settle. Providing tailored support to refugees in the early stages of settlement increases the opportunities for them to contribute their skills and knowledge to our communities. This support needs to take into account the fact that former refugees can experience resettlement differently, according to their gender or age (Innocenti, n.d.). However, the particular experiences of men regarding forced migration and resettlement are not often researched (Affleck, Selvadurai, & Sikora, 2018). Dunedin is a small city in the South Island of New Zealand that became a designated resettlement location for former refugees from Syria and Palestine late in 2015. By 2018, staff in some organisations that provide services to assist former refugee families to settle in Dunedin (hereafter “service providers”) had noted that former refugee men tended to be less engaged in community life in the city, compared to their wives and children. This small-scale, exploratory study was conducted by a team of consultants from the National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, at the University of Otago. The purpose was to understand how former refugee men have experienced settling into Dunedin, and to make suggestions for ways they could be supported to participate more fully in society. Three focus groups were conducted with 16 former refugee men, and in-depth interviews were also conducted with 14 individuals working across eight service provider organisations1. This report also refers to research studies relating to the resettlement of refugee men in other contexts, where this helps to contextualise our findings, and to make informed suggestions. However, it should be noted that our findings do not indicate how many of the other former refugee men in the city share the concerns raised in in the focus groups.