May update

Nowhere to turn.

Nowhere to turn

Anna arrived at De Paul House reception in a state of shock. The mum of two-year-old twins was days away from being homeless. She’d tried every possible avenue to find accommodation since her long-term rental was no longer available to them. De Paul House was her last hope.

Anna wasn’t used to asking for help. “I’ve never been in a situation like this before,” she said. “When I came into the DPH office, I couldn’t say it .... I just couldn’t say, I’m going to be homeless this week. When I finally found the courage to tell them, I’ve got nowhere to live, I was just trying hard not to cry. All I was thinking about was my boys.”

Like many families, Anna had already been through many struggles in her life but the sudden prospect of homelessness came as a huge blow.

During her pregnancy, she’d been working in a physically demanding job until she was 22 weeks. Anna was soon hospitalised with complications and spent the rest of her pregnancy in a wheelchair. The twins were born premature, spending the first months of their lives at the specialist care baby unit at Waitakere hospital. One of the twins still struggles with ongoing health issues. Anna tried her best to provide for their ongoing care, using her savings to buy everything they needed.

The boys’ father couldn’t cope with the responsibility of twins with high needs so Anna brought them up on her own as a single mum. Anna managed but was devastated when her landlord told her she would have to leave.

Anna spent 10 weeks searching for a property and was desperate and worried that she would never find somewhere, when she received the call that there was room for her and her twins at De Paul House.

Anna remembers arriving and feeling, “such relief. It was just like heaven! All my worries were just gone.”

The twins attended the early childhood centre where they are making progress and are no longer the shy, cautious boys they were when they first arrived. Anna can now finally focus on being their mum and planning their next steps rather than worrying about where they would be sleeping. She also attends the onsite adult learning centre and is enjoying building her skills.

A message from Bishop Pat

“I feel so hopeful and inspired after the sessions, these are feelings I haven’t felt since coming to prison.”

Every year, RAW (Reclaim Another Women) takes up to 25 women who have been released from prison onto their Raw On the Outside Programme. The women are provided with safe accommodation, which gives them a secure start to life on the outside. It is here that they receive on-going mentoring, support and counselling. The women are helped to gain an education, find meaningful employment, and rebuild relationships with their children and family.

RAW provides this vital support at a crucial time for the women, so that they can ultimately achieve emotional and financial prosperity, and have the skills and tools to build better lives for themselves and their families.

Since mid 2018, RAW has also been running a programme for 150 incarcerated women at Auckland Region Women’s Corrections Facility to build a culture of hope and ambition prior to release. Each week a group session for a maximum of 30 women, for security reasons, meet to be inspired, motivated and to nurture their personal wellbeing. Each woman, in turn, shares what she learns with other women in the prison.

Nadene, an inmate shares what impact the programme has had on her during her time in prison:

“RAW has been great for my soul. I feel so hopeful and inspired after the sessions, these are feelings I haven’t felt since coming to prison. What you have developed is incredible, I am so proud to be involved in my small way. What you have introduced to us inside and outside is JUST awesome.”
Nadene

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