They wrapped me aroha
I’ve been given a safe, loving life for me and my kids
I’m mum to three awesome kids (6, 10 ,12). I grew up in the gangs up North and started getting into trouble when I was a kid. By the time I hit my teens I was in jail.
I’ve been clean and straight for the last six years but I still had lots of problems with my partner hitting me.
I came to Mother of Divine Mercy Refuge last year and I can’t explain the aroha and feeling that you receive when you enter these gates. This little Samoan lady “Mama Sana” welcomed us with open arms. I broke down crying when Mama Sana hugged me. It was like a powerful energy I had never felt before in my whole life.
The team here don’t treat us like they’re better than us. They treat us like whanau – ‘family for reals’! They’re churchy people here and I thought they were going to judge me and my tatts and my past. Coz that’s all I get whenever I go anywhere. But really, I’m just needing someone to help me and my kids.
The MDM team really listen to my needs. They really want to hear my problems, and my ugly past. And I don’t know why but I’m comfortable to tell them because they respect me and want to help.
We’ve gotten a lot of help here with counselling and sorting my trouble with my ex-partner. He’s now gone to jail. The Mother of Divine Mercy Refuge have helped me and my kids with a new home, protection orders, WINZ, kai and getting us extra help in the community and support people.
MDM leave their doors open to me and my kids and we have good people around us.
Usually growing up I’d need a couple of drinks to make me happy, but these fellas got the real happiness money can’t buy – it’s tu meke! If this is what God’s love is, then I want my kids to go down this path.
My kids cried when we left coz they loved the playground and playing with the other kids, and eating together and laughing.
My kids said they had never seen me laugh so much.
The refuge has helped me learn to build myself with a positive mind and push aside all the negativity people may come at me with. I laugh more now and I’m doing an online course to help with getting some qualifications for a job.
I just want a better life for me and the kids and now I know I can do it. Thank you, MDM Refuge for wrapping me and my kids in your aroha. I will never forget you.
Stranded with little food
When Annamae* first reached out to Pregnancy Help, she was very guarded. Although they contacted her straight away, she was reluctant to tell them her story.
Despite struggling with complex needs, Annamae found it very hard to trust anyone. The team at Pregnancy Help worked gently with her and little by little she confided with them that her partner had left, she was three months pregnant with her fourth child, and that she and the children had not eaten properly for days.
The team immediately arranged for a food parcel to be dropped off for her and the kids, and further deliveries of food were made to last her until the food banks re-opened. Annamae had been left stranded when her partner left her and had taken the car.
During a visit to her home, she asked if she could have some clothes for her kids as they didn’t have clothes that fitted them anymore. An emergency appeal was organised so the family could be given quality clothing, including some maternity clothes for Annamae.
They have referred her to a social worker who is helping Annamae with the other complex issues she is grappling with.
The team at Pregnancy Help will support Annamae throughout her pregnancy and once the baby is born, ensuring that she and the children are not left stranded again.
(*not her real name)
Families under stress are not alone
Every day, the team at Te Waipuna Puawai (Mercy Oasis) work with women who are struggling with parenting and relationship issues, and children who are at risk of abuse, harm, or offending.
The Trust, set-up by the Sisters of Mercy, is based in Tamaki, East Auckland, an area that was already under pressure, even before COVID-19 hit the community hard. Te Waipuna Puawai works with people most in need directly in their homes, Churches, schools, and community spaces. They provide them with the tools and skills to make good decisions for themselves and their families.
Families and individuals are offered free counselling services, delivered by trained professionals. Many women are facing domestic violence, disrupted relationships and abuse. This often goes hand in hand with also facing extreme financial stress, inadequate housing, and major health problems.
COVID-19 has added additional pressure, stress, and uncertainty for so many families that the Trust closely works with.