Imagine if you were new to a place and you feel happy to go to school then you get there does it feel different? It's lunch your shoes are damp and cold. Your lunch box is frozen like ice cream. You sit down on the wet damp concrete steps in the freezing cold wishing to go back to the happy please where your family and friends live. Feeling isolated in the cold, wishing there were lots of tables. The kids are happy , laughing and talking, feeling so happy that they were ready for a party. Then you feel so alone wishing to make a best friend, feeling so alone and crying to go home.
New Zealand has a hidden problem, many people are coming from other countries and lots of them have been feeling isolated. One in ten people in New Zealand feel discriminated against. The most common way people feel discriminated against is based on prejudice about their race, ethnicity or nationality. So what can we do to help migrants feel more welcome?
What is Prejudice?
Have you ever been prejudged before? Prejudice is a mean thing to do to someone you would not like it. It’s when you have an opinion about someone that's not actually true. For example, a person with particular skin color goes up to a person with a different skin colour and says do you want to play with me? Then the other person says no because you are a different color and you might be mean and do something to me. Or a man goes to play basketball and then the other team says that he is tall.
It's important that you do not pre-judge others because it will make them feel sad. So if you ever see a person be mean then go up to them and say that is not nice.
There are all sorts of prejudice like prejudice about:
Judge on how someone talks
The way someone looks, tattoos, size, dress
What homes look like or homeless people.
Your choices of lifestyle
By how your parents are
How much money you have
Sometimes, prejudice makes immigrants feel isolated and alone. This year our class has been interviewing people from a different place but not in New Zealand. We did this because we want to find out how they felt when they came here to New Zealand, if they felt welcome or unwelcome. We found out that some of the people feel like they are a New Zealander because they feel so so welcome. They feel this way when others smile, say hi and take time to talk to them. Then they feel welcome because of all of the things that we are doing for people coming to New Zealand.
Immigrants say that New Zealanders are very good at making people feel welcome but sometimes there can be a little thing that is not true. For example, Mr A felt welcome. He felt welcome because when he was walking on the street and he saw some people walking to and then he said hi and then the other people said hi back. He had been scared of talking because of his accent and they did not make fun of the accent.
Migrants say that New Zealand is a great place to be at because we treat them like they feel welcome because of the things that we do for them. The things that we do are very kind but there is sometimes there is something that is not right but that always gets fixed.
What can we improve on.
I think everyone has to be careful about what they say and if they want to say something prejudiced then just keep it in their head. If you say things that are not nice then the person you say it to will get really sad.
For example, Ms K, from Iran, came down to live here and one day she went to school. When she was eating her lunch a boy came up to her and asked if she had a bomb in her lunch box and she got really sad because she was from a different country it made her feel very sad and isolated .
So never ever ever do that to a person because it will make them feel isolated and very sad. It's Important that you make a connection with another place or school. You can connect with other people by going up to them and then talking about where you are from and things about you.
There are many things that make people feel more welcome.
Smiling at them.
Taking time to talk.
Invite them to play.
Tour around the school or the neighborhood.
Start a conversation with them.
Say do you want to play with us.
Treating them like everyone else.
Host a welcome party.
Not treating them differently.
If you are at school.
Most importantly you should be kind be helpful or help people feel like they belong to the place where they moved to. I think you should treat new people like you do to everyone else because if you do not they will feel like don't fit in.