Charity works to level the playing field

TINA LAW
Last updated 09:48 16/07/2014
Tammie Te Raki
Joseph Johnson/Fairfax NZ

STORY TIME: Tammie Te Raki reads a book to her nephews.

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A 9-year-old Christchurch boy desperately wants to play football this year, but money is tight at home.

"I've got some [football] moves that are really good," he says.

The boy and his 7-year-old brother live in the care of their aunt, Tammie Te Raki, and her husband, Tamati, who took the two boys in after their father was sent to prison.

The couple work fulltime to support the boys and their three daughters, but there is not a lot of spare money to go around.

Te Raki's nephew is one of six Canterbury children awaiting a sponsor through the Variety Kiwi Kid Sponsorship programme.

The programme encourages people to donate at least $35 a month to help a child in need.

The money helps pay for healthcare, clothing, bedding, school costs, uniforms and activities.

Te Raki said having a sponsor would make a huge difference to the family and it would help pay for clothes, sports fees and school uniforms.

About 900 children throughout New Zealand and 148 in Christchurch, have been matched with a sponsor since the programme began early last year.

But Variety - The Children's Charity is looking for another 200 sponsors to help children receive basic essentials this winter.

Chief executive Lorraine Taylor said there were 77 children on the waiting list across New Zealand and another 100 were due to be added in the coming weeks.

Sponsors pay money to Variety and it pays suppliers, including schools, doctors and clothing stores, directly.

People can choose if they want to sponsor a boy or girl, approximate age, ethnicity and the region the child lives in.

They can also correspond with the children via Variety.

Taylor said the programme was enabling children to have the same opportunities as their peers.

One mum said her son hated school because he could never go on trips, he never had the right uniform or stationery.

"Now school is cool, because he can participate. The programme has levelled the playing field."

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- The Press

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