House fire victim Nella Sefilino is grateful for every moment she has with her children.
It's not so long ago that she could have lost all four.
"Every night before they go to sleep I tell them I love them," she says.
Nella and her partner Nicco Niko know just how lucky the kids are to be alive.
Their state home burnt down at about 11.30am on March 2. The Manurewa residents lost everything and had no insurance.
Now St Mary's Catholic School in Papakura, where their eldest daughter Kiendra-Lee, 6, is a pupil, is rallying around to help.
Nella says the family was just starting life in Nella's childhood home when disaster struck.
"It was first under my mother's name. We have lost a lot of sentimental things.
"Now we own nothing but the clothes on our back," she says.
The fire started when their four-year-old son Kiendrix was playing with a lighter in a wardrobe.
His two-year-old brother Karson yelled "Mummy! Mummy, fire!"
Nella, whose youngest child is 7-months-old, tried to put out the blaze but within minutes the room was engulfed in flames.
The desperate parents scrambled to get the children out but Kiendrix was hiding somewhere in the house.
"I was yelling so loudly and eventually he ran out by himself. I could have lost my son that day," Nella says.
The family moved into an emergency Housing New Zealand house last week.
"Every day was already a struggle. Now we are just taking each day as it comes," Nicco says.
Nella is a stay-at-home mum and Nicco is a caregiver for his father.
St Mary's school has been busy collecting donations for the family and is waiving Kiendra-Lee's fees and supplying replacement uniforms and stationery.
Manurewa Community Kindergarten is also collecting donations.
The family say all the gifts are truly appreciated.
The young family is trying to rebuild its future. Any donations of bedding and household goods would be of great assistance. A money tree has also been set up for the family. Please make any donations to N Niko bank account 12-3010-0151375-00.
- Papakura Courier
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