Teens aged 13-18 are invited to participate in an exciting and interactive multicultural youth community leadership programme run by Shama.

Shama is a charitable trust formed in 2002 after the identification of a gap in available services for ethnic women and children that are run by ethnic women.

The founding members of Shama recognised that the challenges faced by ethnic women are complex and unique, and their needs often sit outside what is catered for by mainstream social services and support programmes.

Some of the group working at the food forest at Solscape helping get rid of kikuya grass. Photo / Supplied
Some of the group working at the food forest at Solscape helping get rid of kikuya grass. Photo / Supplied

Shama aims to support the development of a truly multicultural New Zealand where all women from ethnic minorities would be fully integrated into New Zealand society, to live lives of dignity, free from fear of violence and discrimination, and to be recognised as valuable contributors to their local communities.

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The primary objective of Shama is to be a vibrant, sustainable social service organisation that provides culturally appropriate support, advocacy, and programmes to ethnic women, their children and families, and to be a source of strength and empowerment for ethnic women of all ages.

Shama is a community hub for hundreds of ethnic families in the Hamilton area, and provides peer-to-peer support for ethnic women through the running of regular classes in crafts, cooking, English language, as well as the parent support and holiday programmes.

Hamilton ethnic teens with the Shama "Teens Explore" programme recently experienced a sustainable educational holiday in Raglan. Samantha Rose, Shama community development worker, co-ordinated the event at Solscape which is a holiday accommodation that demonstrates many forms of sustainability.

"We were given a tour of the Solscape property to learn about their permaculture food gardens, worm farms, sandbag domes, solar hot water system, passive solar building design, native tree reforestation project, the vegan cafe, the tipi village, and the renovated train cabooses in which we stayed. We had use of the self-catering kitchen so prepared our healthy meals as a community," says Samantha.

On day one the group helped free the community food forest from being strangled by kikuyu grass, an activity organised by the Whaingaroa Environment Centre. The food forest was planted years ago but has become unusable due to grass infestation. Through weeding, the group revitalised a portion of it and learned about this project that seeks to provide free food for the community.

On day two, the group had a tour of the Xtreme Zero Waste Facility to learn how they turn waste into resources. Samantha says that the Xtreme Zero Waste model was inspirational to the teens.

"We learned how the centre deals with metal, wood, glass, plastic, tetrapak, garden waste, and how they sell items that can have a second life. As a social enterprise, they're committed to a healthy environment for all and when families or people are in crisis, they can provide a free home starter pack from their second-hand store.

"Hamilton only recycles a small amount of the waste that Raglan does but since the Hamilton City Council's Waste Management policy is coming up for review, the teens are well inspired to have a say on how Hamilton can deal with our waste better following on the Xtreme Zero Waste model," says Samantha.

Samantha encourages ethnic teens from the Waikato to enrol to become a part of this programme.

"We'll be making visits to local sites of interest, visiting a Marae to experience Maori culture, volunteering with organisations to serve our community, and running workshops for inter-faith bridge-building and increasing youth's leadership skills for social justice," says Samantha.

Contact Samantha at projects@shama.nz or phone 027-843-3002 for more info and to enrol.