Funds for refugee driving lessons

Amanda Caulton (right) checks out hand-knitted scarves displayed by Glynis Cambray at a market...
Amanda Caulton (right) checks out hand-knitted scarves displayed by Glynis Cambray at a market day fundraiser for Syrian refugees yesterday. Photo: Linda Robertson

Syrian refugees due to arrive in Dunedin later this month should have access to free driving lessons, thanks to the efforts of a local fundraiser.

Organiser Afife Harris said funds raised at a market day held at the Dunedin North Intermediate Hall yesterday would go towards $20 petrol vouchers for volunteers who wanted to help teach refugees about driving in New Zealand.

Mrs Harris said she came up with the concept after researching what European countries had done to help refugees there.

Many had offered cycling lessons but Mrs Harris thought driving lessons would be more beneficial for Syrian refugees arriving in New Zealand.

The event attracted 25 stallholders who sold items including clothing, books, food, art and antiques.

The call for stallholders was put out through a newspaper advertisement in The Star and flyers handed out around north Dunedin and at the Otago Farmers Market, Mrs Harris said.

It was not the first time she had lent a helping hand to those who needed it.

In 2010, she cooked a dinner for 50 people that raised $5000 for those affected by the Christchurch earthquake in September of that year.

Since she moved to Dunedin 25 years ago, Mrs Harris had raised between $20,000 and $30,000 for the community, she said.

She planned to organise further fundraising events to go towards the driving lessons.

They included a Middle Eastern cooking demonstration and Arabic language classes.

"I love to do this for the community - this is me.''

The event raised $600.

Forty-five Syrian refugees were expected to arrive in Dunedin on April 22, Mrs Harris said.



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