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12 Days of Christmas: Who Did You Help Today? Mothers Project

NZ Herald, 14 December 2018

This Christmas, the Herald is featuring 12 charities which have been chosen to get a $10,000 grant from Auckland Airport, as part of its 12 Days of Christmas charity campaign. The $120,000 comes from generous travellers who donate money in globes throughout the airport.

Sometimes, just hearing mum's voice is all it takes to comfort a child.

Mothers in jail will soon be given an opportunity that will allow them to have that reconnection with their children, despite being behind bars.

A new book project is being set up at the Auckland Region Women's Corrections Facility in Wiri, South Auckland.

Women wanting to take part will read a children's book that will then be given to their child. A recording of them reading the book will also be given to little ones as a gift from mum.

Lawyer Stacey Shortall, the founding trustee of the Who Did You Help Today? Mothers Project at the women's prison in Wiri, South Auckland. Photo / Greg Bowker

The initiative, to start in February, is the brainchild of Who Did You Help Today? The Mothers Project.

It is a charity that helps imprisoned mothers understand their responsibilities and rights regarding their children by linking them up with volunteer lawyers.

The new project will be established with a $10,000 grant provided by the Auckland Airport's 12 Days of Christmas campaign.

Lawyer and Mothers Project founding trustee Stacey Shortall said the money would help buy a range of children's books and recording equipment to be set up at the prison in Wiri.

Shortall said during sessions with lawyers, incarcerated women could then take part in the book project.

"Even though they're inside - they've done wrong - but they still want to remain connected with their children.

"That's still important to them.

"This is a way to enable a connection with their children."

Such initiatives also helped to reduce the likelihood of people reoffending and returning to prison, Shortall said.

It also helped to encourage reading among women who might not have strong literacy or numeracy skills.

Helen James, of Auckland Airport, said: "We're positively encouraged that imprisoned mothers will have access to reading books and equipment to enhance literacy of their young children - irrespective of any physical barriers.''

The plan is to buy all kinds of children's books that included culturally diverse offerings that would cater to families from all backgrounds.


Republished from the NZ Herald

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