NZ Ethnic Women's Trust (NZEWT) is an incorporated society with charitable status that has been operating since 2001. The group supports women of all ethnicities (predominantly from countries in Africa, South Asia and the Middle East), a high proportion of whom are from refugee backgrounds.
Many of the women experience barriers to their participation in the New Zealand workforce and society, including having limited English, a lack of New Zealand work experience and the responsibility for large families (often as a sole parent).
NZEWT offers a range of services and activities to encourage the development of skills and confidence to assist in their settlement in New Zealand. Services include English language classes, health education and a playgroup promoting the Somali language. The organisation is run by volunteers and the only people paid are those contracted to deliver specific services such as the sewing teacher and playgroup coordinator.
New Zealand Ethnic Women's Trust began as New Zealand Somali Women Association which was established due to growing need within the community. Although there are Somali groups operating in the Mt Roskill area, many are run by men within the community and it was difficult for the women in these groups to be heard and their needs taken into account.As a response to this, a women’s group was set up with the aim of focusing on the needs of the women within this community. NZ Ethnic Women’s Trust provides a safe place where women can express their views freely in a supportive environment. Our key objectives are: 1) To provide for development of physical, spiritual and intellectual well being of members. 2) To provide assistance for job seekers. 3) To mediate and liaise between various communities and government department agencies over matters that may arise from cultural differences. 4) To establish and provide centers where those in need can attend for direction, counselling etc.