City schoolgirl's pyjama mission

DOING HER BIT: Alisa D'Mello is helping out children how are taken into foster care.
DOING HER BIT: Alisa D'Mello is helping out children how are taken into foster care.

A 7-year-old Auckland school pupil has collected almost 70 pairs of pyjamas after a simple homework task evolved into a much larger project to help children in foster care keep warm.

Alisa D'Mello, a pupil at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart School in Epsom, was asked, as a homework task, to find a news story.

She  picked one about Louise Allnutt, the chairwoman of an organisation called Foster Hope, and her drive to find pyjamas to give to foster children.

Foster Hope was set up in 2010 to provide children going into foster care with the basics, such as clothing, underwear, nappies, toothpaste and shampoo which are put into a colourful backpack.

Alisa has been diligently collecting pyjamas since.

"We asked [the principal] Ms Kemp if people could donate pyjamas.

"They gave us a box and we took it home and decorated it," she said.

She has since collected about 68  pairs and is aiming for more.

Her mother Shirley Sequeria-D'Mello said during the first week her daughter collected 22 pairs.

"She has been writing  down how many she's collected each week and is setting goals. The school community has been very positive."

She said it was important to give foster children something new so they felt cared for.

Sequerio-D'Mello is also writing to Farmers to see if the company can help.

Principal Rosemary Kemp said Alisa's project had "developed our awareness of something we didn't think too deeply about. It's delightful that this has come out of Alisa's homework".

"When you think of a child going to a strange home, it's a beautiful idea to give them a pack."

Go to or email to get in touch with Alisa's mother.

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