A new pregnancy support programme has been launched for Pasifika mothers and their babies in Timaru and South Canterbury.
The manager of Fale Pasifika O Aoraki, Ofa Boyle, said the programme, known as Fakalekesi Mareqeta, aimed to encourage health in children and lower hospitalisation rates of young Pasifika children.
“It has been designed for those who reside in the Fale Pasifika emergency housing in Timaru, Ashburton, Oamaru and Christchurch and will be used on a personal, family and community level.
“It’s mobile and is well able to be conducted at fanau homes and can also be delivered in small group or larger group meetings if required.
“This is also about Pasifika families solving Pasifika issues,” she said.
As well as servicing South Canterbury, Timaru-based Fale Pasifika O Aoraki has outreach programmes and services in Oamaru, Ashburton and Christchurch.
Ms Boyle said 4% of Pasifika children lived below the poverty line in New Zealand, with severe and persistent poverty – at least double that of European New Zealanders.
“Child poverty costs the country in excess of $6 billion. Considerable funds are spent on remedial interventions to child poverty.
“Child poverty and housing are two significant issues faced by Pacific children up to the age of 14.”
She said the programme would run in conjunction with their Healthy Homes Programme and was expected to be up and running within the month.
“Healthy, loving, safe, warm, happy homes are the foundation of empowering families. Statistics for Pasifika families with poor housing, meager ventilation, cold, damp, overcrowding and unstable housing are high.
“These two projects are a game-changer; not only for families on and near the poverty line but for those families that are unsure about how things are done here in New Zealand.”
She said the programme was still very much “a work in progress”.
“The content has been developed and we have an initial trial with around six clients.
“The programme is extremely intensive with 12 sessions run in the home, plus assistance with other social work and community needs and activities”
Pasifika clients were waiting to enrol and work with them would start this week, Ms Boyle said.