Re Ber simply wants to give back | ELPNZ

Re Ber simply wants to give back

02 March 2015

Imagine arriving in a new country with nothing.
Not even the language...


When Re Ber, her husband Win Sa and their four children arrived in 2007, they had already spent  22 years in a Thai refugee camp. 

Refugees want to work hard, but are often hindered by their lack of English - Re Ber’s story is no different. 
Desperate to start a new life, she badly needed English to find work here. Fortunately, our people were on hand to help.  
When volunteer Maria began teaching Re Ber she was amazed by her resilience and willpower. 
“I was blown away by Re Ber’s determination to get a job. Not so she could be better off, she wanted simply to contribute to society and to give a little back.” 
Re Ber and Maria forged a close relationship. Maria was instantly captivated by Re Ber’s warmth and personality. 
“Her life had been a struggle – she later told me that she carried 60kg daily on her back. “But her eyes and her beautiful smile told me this lady had a wonderful personality and a great sense of humour, but was also very humble.”
It was Maria who helped Re Ber find her first job – at a local cafe. 
The pair, armed with Re Ber’s CV and a dose of cautious optimism, approached the cafe owner, introduced themselves and talked about Re Ber’s background. Re Ber was offered work on the spot.
Later, she said to Maria, “Before you helped me get this job, it was like all the doors were locked and everything was in darkness. Now it is like the lights are all on and I can go in.”
Re Ber works a 30-hour week and attends church with her family on Sundays. She enjoys learning new songs while surrounded by Kiwi parishioners and the new friends she's made. 
Win Sa, is also a kitchen hand and prepares desserts at an inner city restaurant. He's worked there for four years and takes great pride in his end-of-shift cleaning duties, “The kitchen is shiny and spotless!”
Our volunteers are passionate about helping people like Re Ber really make a new life here. Especially after the family has fought so hard to get where they are. 
Last year, an incredible 2,300 volunteers helped new Kiwis with English, and we were able to help 7,000 people get on with their new lives in New Zealand. 
But right now, more than 1,500 refugees and migrants are waiting for volunteers to be trained so they can learn English and contribute in their adopted country.
You can help ONE person waiting to learn English make a fresh start. 

Images: Leigh Dome