People are extraordinarily generous, and if I have learned one thing, over the last few years, it is this. That most people want to help, but really aren’t sure how to go about that. I can show you, if you’ll let me. And in the process of helping us, it is more than likely, somewhere along the way, that we can help you out too. One would think that giving to the refuges would be entirely beneficial only to the recipients of the kindness but I know, from what Aunties have told me, that it has a ripple effect. They have either gone on to help other people, have stepped up their contributions to us as a result of getting directly involved, or giving to us has helped them to resolve some issue, some difficulty, and restored their faith in themselves, and in other people. It has opened many people’s eyes, and it has been, and continues to be, a great and unending source of joy for me. Every day.
I currently work with 3 organisations, which between them run 6 women’s refuges. I am also now working with the NZ Prostitutes Collective, in Auckland, providing clothes and some additional needs for their most vulnerable street workers.
I only visit one refuge, and get specific needs from women who live there. Those needs are conveyed by email or on the public facebook page.
This particular list is for general needs of all the refuges, and organisations, run by the people I work with.
We now have drop offs all over Auckland: Central, New Lynn, Glen Eden, Greenhithe, Pakuranga, North of Auckland, and I am out South. So if you have stuff to give to the refuge, please message me via facebook/email me/tweet me, and I’ll let you know who to contact. We don’t have any drop off points on the North Shore, at this point.
Please, also, if what you’re looking to donate is not on this list, give me a ring. And we will have a talk about it. Voice communication is more effective for these discussions!
We have a storage unit, but space is still somewhat limited! I like clothing items, and bedding to be put in black rubbish sacks. Boxes don’t fit in my car very well, and are cumbersome. Also please note: if bags are too heavy, I will not take them. I will also not take bedding or clothes that isn’t freshly laundered or nice. The whole idea of the Aunties is that the women get the best we can get them, and we intend to keep it that way. I also like the bags to be labelled so we know what sizes are in there……
Please always bear in mind that, in any given year, we now service 6 refuges, an emergency housing facility, and a collective of sex workers – that’s a lot of people, most of whom are dealing with the fall out of family/street or intimate partner violence. Their needs are many, and our aim is to provide them with as many of those needs as is practicable. We keep up with most needs for the two primary refuges we service, but we always need more.
So what do we need? And how can you help us?
Money is always, of course, very useful. We prefer that you not put money in the refuge bank account, directly, as it poses difficulties if not tagged for a purpose. Its better to give money through our givealittle page, and I pass that onto them at the appropriate moment,. They recieve a limited amount of funding from the MSD – women are funded to stay at refuge for one month only, so they pay board as well – and it can be difficult to stretch those dollars. Every thing you give us is something they don’t have to buy, and this can stretch those dollars further, and further. They are supporting a lot of people, and so, by proxy, are we! Please note, at this time, the main beneficiaries of these funds are the women who reside in the two primary refuges we work with. Apart from the cost of the storage unit – $150 a month – and the PO Box – $90 a year – I do not use any of the funds for administration costs. I personally pay for my petrol, and for the costs of the Aunties email, and for this website.
As I said contributing via our Givealittle funding page is the best option.
Funds raised through this forum will be used to provide things it’s hard to get donated:
- ID needed for the women or children for applications
- grocery vouchers for the FVIARS coordinator to distribute
- grocery vouchers for women when they arrive, and at regular intervals for all women in residence in the two refuges
- drivers licenses
- school provisions for the childrens’ new school such as uniforms, stationary, and schoolbags
- vouchers for the women to purchase new kitchenware, bedding and small appliances for their new home (they are given $100 kmart vouchers when they leave)
All of these are needs that we find hard to meet. The women in most refuges pay board, and for their own food. If we take as many worries off their plate for them, they get the space and time to think, calmly, about what’s next. It’s as simple as that.
You can also contribute to any of these needs by putting money in the Aunties bank account, and tagging what the funds are intended for. Please ask me privately for details.
2. Bedding/towels (2nd hand/preloved absolutely fine)
At the moment, we are in dire need of towels and single bed sheets. The women get to keep these when they leave, so this is really important. In the other refuges we are working with, there are many people.
3. Birthday presents.
There are around 86 kids through the two primary refuges every year – many of them don’t ever get gifts so we try hard to make sure they have birthday and xmas pressies. If you would like to buy a gift for a child/children, please do that and send to our PO Box, unwrapped. Thank you!
4. Kids clothes (preloved/used satisfactory) – At the moment, we need clothes for school aged kids – 6-12 – please.
5. Slippers and socks (both for women and kids)
6. Undies! Kid’s and Women’s! All sizes please – we get a lot of undies for 2 year olds, which is lovely but not necessarily the most needed sizes…Undies, particularly in bigger women’s sizes, are much much needed. The NZPC also likes to give undies to women when they drop in to get a change of clothes.
6. Phones and laptops
Rob is our guy and he does the do. Wipes them of sensitive stuff, rejigs them. Phones mean safety and freedom. For all technological donations, please see Rob’s website.
If you have any of the goods on this list, please email me firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet me @whaeapower and I will come and pick them up when I can. Or you may courier/post to:
The Aunties, PO Box 76638, Manukau, Auckland 2241
The biggest way you can help me to get the women what they need is to share this blog, and/or find us on facebook – http://www.facebook.com/refugeaunties – I keep the facebook page updated daily with needs, and stories.
If you’d like to be part of the emailing list, just flick me an email.
Many thanks for your interest, and compassion. We can’t do this without you.
You can contact me @whaeapower on Twitter
Or email me at email@example.com