New state-of-the-art school wows ex-refugee

The new school facilities at Mangere Refugee Resettlement Centre in Auckland were opened this week on World Refugee Day.

The complete transformation of the school is inspiring for one of its past students, Adel Salmanzadeh, who is now a Senior Advisor at the Ministry of Education in Auckland.

Adel spent 6 weeks at the centre when he arrived in New Zealand in 1989. He says that the new facilities are incredible compared to the old buildings; although he has many fond memories from the past – especially meeting his future wife, Maxine, while staying at the centre.

“Walking in, to see the difference between the old and new is remarkable.

“When I originally stayed there, they still had blackboards in the classrooms. Now, there’s digital devices, multimedia, whiteboards - and everything is state-of-the-art.

“Refugees get the same resources for learning as at any other school in New Zealand. It’s amazing to see the level of commitment from this country to refugees.”

Refugees stay 6 weeks at the centre after arrival in New Zealand, and their studies while at the school include English language and practical life skills.

New Zealand currently takes 1,000 refugees a year from around the world, including Syria, Myanmar, Colombia and Afghanistan.

About the project

The construction project was managed by the Ministry of Education with a budget of $6.9 million. AUT is the education provider for the school, which teaches both adults and children.

An early child education centre is also being rebuilt as a separate project.

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