An update, and an apology from Auntie Michele.
Part of my job as Aunties Chair is to keep you all updated with what has been achieved each month but I’ve been swanning about on the other side of the world for a bit and have missed officially reporting back for a few weeks. Auntie Jackie, who is made of superhero stuff, has done a grand job of keeping in touch with everyone and just generally “doing the do” but she doesn’t sufficiently blow her own trumpet so here’s a list of the good things accomplished. And please – after you’ve read this have a look at Jackie’s post of the goals we have as we look forward into June. That’s here
The biggest thing was that Jackie had her birthday in May, but it was everyone else who got the presents! Jackie made it her birthday wish to raise money for a car for one of the women who has been in long term contact with the Aunties and, thanks to you all, $5000 was raised which is incredible. In fact, we raised more money than was needed so we asked some of the donors if they would mind us using the leftover money on other things, and they said yes. When you earmark a donation for something specific, we will always make sure that it gets spent on that thing, or else ask for your personal permission to put it towards another need.
A woman and her two teenagers were spirited away from a violent home and arrived at refuge with nothing but the clothes they were wearing, so we put an urgent call out for clothes and people responded enthusiastically – Jackie took eight large bags of good quality clothing to the refuge for them, and some of the other women were also able to get things they needed. Pickups were done by the teenage son of one of our Aunties – he’d got himself into a minor bit of bother and needed to do some community service so we were thrilled to be able to help his whanau by getting him to help Jackie.
One of the women who has moved to another city recently has gotten involved in the local community gardens so we are paying her yearly membership fee so that she always has heaps of fresh veggies to hand.
Auntie Mel has organised our big storage unit so it is almost like a shop – women visit and choose the things they need for themselves and their kids. Some of them find this overwhelming – the idea that they Have What They Need is a new experience for many. It often makes them emotional and, to be honest, we all get a bit emotional at board meetings with Auntie Jackie tells us these stories.
One of the women who has left the refuge some time ago has moved to another city so we sent her off with bedding and linen, and also put her in touch with good people who will support her there. We’ve also found good contacts for another long time Auntie’s friend in a different city – some help with school runs, friendship, and suggestions for a church she can go to.
We’ve connected with a woman who, as well as raising six sons and doing her Master’s degree also has breast cancer. She still deals with abuse from her ex-husband who recently broke into her house and stole money. We helped out with food, petrol and phone credit vouchers to tide her over. We plan to stay in touch with her and will offer her meals after her breast reconstruction surgery. A couple of Aunties have already given her lingerie vouchers so she can buy new bras when the time comes.
Auntie Jackie attended a CYFS meeting with one of the women and advocated for her and her kids with really positive results. And there were cooking classes at the refuge – another way of helping women feel good about their ability to take care of themselves and their families.
We’re about roses as well as bread – so in the “roses” category, Auntie Jackie took one of the women to the Auckland Writers Festival – she loved it, and we’re keen to keep taking women to see cultural events that inspire them and make them feel part of the world again after they leave refuge.
And more roses – literally – we’ve found someone who is keen to help Dorothy with the garden at the refuge so once all the necessary safety checks are done, there should be some more pruning and planting on the way so there’s something beautiful to look at out the window.
That was May – now go have a look at what we hope to do in June. And thank you, as always, for helping us meet needs with aroha.