Woman selling her house to aid newborns

PETRA FINER
Last updated 05:00 08/01/2014
Andrea Albany
PETRA FINER/ Fairfax NZ

PRECIOUS CHILD: Andrea Albany cuddles her 6-month-old grandson Nico Sutherland Ngeru.

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Andrea Albany says she cares so much about a programme she developed to help protect children she is willing to sell the roof over her head to make it happen.

A former child abuse sufferer, Albany has created "Precious Children", which aims to clothe every one of the 60,000 Kiwi babies born each year in a body suit with a strong message.

But at a cost of roughly $372,000 to get the project going, Albany has had to ask herself the hard question: "How much does she believe in the project?"

The answer: Enough to sell her home.

"Basically when I sat there and I thought about what was needed to get the vision off the ground and on its feet, the answer was money," she said.

"I thought that if I could get 60,000 babies in one place and put them next to my home, well which one would I choose, what's more important to me . . . It got to the point that yeah, I'm willing to sell my home to get the equity to start the vision."

The slogan "Precious, rare and unique, therefore to be treated with care" was created in the hopes of building positive images around Kiwi kids.

"We all know our children are precious but I just wanted to get the message out into the heart of the home where it matters."

The bodysuits will all be white with bold black writing.

"I don't want anything to distract from that message."

Her plan is to see a bodysuit distributed to each new family free not long after the birth.

Her home, the old Manaia post office, is now on the market.

As a former sufferer of child abuse and a mother and grandmother, Albany knows only too well how important it is to start life off on the right foot.

She said her four children were right behind the vision and wanted to see every baby in the country proudly displaying their mother's message of hope.

"I experienced abuse so I know what it's like to be that little child," she said.

"You can let it affect you for the rest of your life and drag it round with you or whatever, or you can use it to better yourself and those around you.

"We know the stats are huge but I think it's actually time that we start focusing on the positive . . . actually start doing something about it."

At this stage, Ms Albany is working on setting up a charitable trust, a website and gaining sponsorship.

She has paired up with community-focused group Rotary to help the project gain traction.

Hawera Rotary project facilitator David Lawrence said Albany had been made a member of the group based on the strength of her project.

"Hopefully it will spread right throughout the district," he said.

"We just need to kick it off."

While Albany works to set up an official charitable trust, Rotary will take donations on behalf of Precious Children.

Donations can be deposited into the Rotary bank account 15-3950-0613867-00 using the reference "precious".

Albany can be contacted at preciouschildrennz@outlook.co.nz or www.preciouschildren.co.nz.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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