“I just didn’t know where to go – my husband was starting to get really worried about me.”
Luckily for Dawn, passionate volunteers, like Rubi-Lin, are trained with the skills they need to develop programmes and manage vital services that lead to more supportive, connected communities. And because Plunket volunteers come from the communities in which they work, they have seen the critical issues and problems first-hand and can develop effective solutions. Rubi-Lin explained to me:
“I wanted to create a safe place where families could connect with others, and where their children could learn and grow in a nurturing environment.”
Rubi-Lin developed a playgroup programme called Tiny Jandals specifically for her community in Māngere, South Auckland. Every Tuesday and Thursday, the clinic rings with the joyful sounds of play, laughter and chatter. The children learn to sing, dance and create, while relieved mums and dads finally have a chance to sit down with new friends and share their worries and experiences.
Tiny Jandals has had an enormous impact on the Māngere community, bringing families together, building positive, supportive relationships and giving parents a chance to speak with other parents; new relationships that represent a source of help in the darkest hours. Lives are being changed and young families now have hope for their futures and the future of their children.
For Dawn, Tiny Jandals has changed everything:
“When I walked into Tiny Jandals, I felt immediately at home. All the activities – music, dance, exercise and storytelling – are fun and meaningful for mums and dads as well as kids and babies. We have a great time, and best of all it’s in my own neighbourhood, so I’ve built real friendships with other young families I can trust. I love Māngere and I know for sure that my family has a real community here now.”
Rubi-Lin summarises the impact she has seen with her own eyes in Māngere:
“Low incomes and high unemployment means lots of people are struggling to get by. Poor housing conditions and overcrowded homes make the situation even worse, as they often lead to long-term health issues."
“Every year, over 17,000 babies are born into poverty and deprivation across New Zealand – so it’s these children who are most at risk.”
Programmes like Tiny Jandals are centres of real community and offer friendship and hope for mums like Dawn. But groups like Tiny Jandals are only possible with the support of donations from our communities. Please make a donation today to ensure that isolated parents like Dawn get the support they need from Plunket. Together we can help lonely, desperate parents meet and support each other, while their children play and learn.
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