Welcome to The Aunties – I’m Jackie. I’m the Aunty In Charge. If you’re curious about what I/we do, it is simply this. I am the interface between a number of refuges in Auckland, and a group of people called The Aunties whose primary focus is to provide the material needs for women who reside in those places. Two women’s refuges are our primary focus, and have been for the last four and a half years. We also help women when they leave the refuge (s) with material needs, and advocacy, as and when they request it.
In March 2013, I started helping out the refuge co-ordinator to get some needs met. In October 2013, after a bereavement, I sought the help of some other women and we have grown from there. I visit the main refuge every Thursday afternoon – I am not paid by the Refuge, I am not a volunteer, officially I am simply a donor. Or as K likes to call me: the Donations Co-ordinator. We’ll go with that. (I have other unofficial things I do but that’s off the record!) This is now my full time job – they call it following your passion, I believe. And my passion is getting the women what they need.
If you’re interested in reading a bit more about what I do, you can find that here.
All of that may sound alot, and it is. But I couldn’t do any of it, not a bit of it, without the money that people so kindly give, and the Aunties who give me not only stuff, but huge amounts of support.
The Aunties, quite simply, are the reason I get to do what I do. They provide what the women need, when I ask them to. Whether it’s a trip to the art gallery for two little girls, or $20 in the bank account to buy women chocolate, it all counts, and it’s all really important. The Aunties are this extraordinary living organism – there are around 50 hard core Aunties who are always giving stuff and money. And how do you get to be an Aunty? You give once. That’s it.
I am also ably supported by the Board of our Trust. We’ve had a Board for around a year – these are all people I have hand picked for the skills and life experience. They are: our chairperson Michele A’Court, our secretary Phil, our treasurer Elaine, and board members Paul, Julie and Jackson (and me). We have recently welcomed Kerry to our fold, and she will be doing our funding applications.
The coordinator and staff, of the primary refuges, and I have built up a strong relationship over time. I take their lead in all things, and there is little we don’t talk about. I also have a strong relationship with the women, and with members of the refuge Trust Board. They allow me to keep on doing what I do, and it is solely by their grace that I have been allowed to become a firm member of that refuge family. I have a deepening relationship with the Prostitute’s Collective, and with a secondary refuge coordinator.
This is a grassroots effort to support one refuge, and this vision has expanded. .
I am available for public speaking. All fees go to the Aunties bank account.
The Aunties vision statement:
The Aunties are a group of people who for various reasons – empathy, experience, and a sense of social justice – seek to provide support and be kaitiaki to the vulnerable, particularly those who have experienced domestic violence.
The Aunties believe everyone has the right to be safe, to have shelter, to be fed, to be loved, to dream, to read, to write, to have their say, and to be heard. Where any of those things are missing, the Aunties mission is to help provide them – the practical things, and also in terms of advocacy and pastoral care.
The Aunties believe in manaakitanga – protecting the mana of the people they help so that they can find their way towards living with dignity and joy.
We thank you for your compassion and care.
The Aunties is a registered charitable trust.
Our registration number is: CC54387
You can contact me @whaeapower on Twitter
Or come and check out our facebook page!