Refuge calling for volunteers
Five days after a total knee replacement Caroline Herewini was back in her office, lying on the couch working
‘‘I was meant to have six weeks off but there was just too much work to do,’’ the grandmother laughed.
There are only two services offering 24 hour help for family violence in Porirua and Kapiti - the police and Herewini’s Te Whare Tiaki Wahine Refuge, a sister agency to Women’s Refuge.
When the crisis line rings everything else is dropped. It could be the police, a woman in danger, a family in fear - it is always, always answered, Herewini said.
‘‘We have the same response time as the police do and we never fail to respond immediately.’’
It’s a crucial job - done on a shoestring budget - and is in desperate need of volunteers, she said.
‘‘Our volunteers are our life force and our backbone and we need more.’’
The refuge is responsible for two safe houses - one in Kapiti and the other in Porirua - and they depend on a tiny volunteer pool to do the work.
With three volunteers in Kapiti and five in Porirua City, they have begun a recruitment drive for women to sign up for their training programme, beginning in February.
Ideally volunteers could commit to one shift a week, providing cover for the 24 hour crisis line.
Anyone who cared about the safety of women and children in their community should consider volunteering, she said.
‘‘We look like your mothers, your aunties, your nannies and we need your help - our whanau need your help.’’
Kapiti detective Niall Deehan said the refuge provided invaluable help to the police.
‘‘This is an essential service already but they could achieve a lot more if they had greater support. ‘‘Caroline is a remarkable woman, she is accepting, humble and gracious and works harder than most people I know.
‘‘She deserves a lot of recognition for her contribution to our community. ’’
Volunteer training starts February 9 and is held once a week for eight weeks. An afternoon and evening course is available. Contact 04 234 6118 or Wharemanaaki@xtra.co.nz for more details.