March 15 marks the three-year anniversary of the Christchurch Mosques attacks. Our thoughts continue to be with the victims injured, survivors, families and all those affected by the events of the day in 2019.
We also stand with Temel Ataçocuğu in spirit as he reaches Christchurch today on his Walk for Peace from Dunedin to Christchurch. Kia kaha from the team at HOST Aotearoa New Zealand.
As we reflect on the effects of March 15, we remember the experience of one of the organisations that participated in the Community Refugee Sponsorship pilot. The South West Baptist Church remembers the impact on their community:
“Supporting the settlement of refugee families from Iraq and Syria in 2018 was an exciting challenge as 3 support groups from South West Baptist built home and community for families who considered New Zealand to be one of the safest places in the world.
The March 15 Mosque attack was devastating for 2 of our refugee families, leaving us stunned and with no other option but to walk through the grief and pain with those who felt those traumatic experiences were all behind them.
There was a deep sadness as we stumbled through this unwelcome, new territory. This gave our emerging friendships a new depth and left those of us in the support group knowing more than ever, the strength of working together to build a better future to the strangers who came to us as refugees and stayed with us as friends.”
South West Baptist Church - Refugee Sponsorship Co-ordinating Team
Credit: Illustration by Ruby Jones.