Group mentors women rebuilding lives

CATALYST: It was Krystal's story that inspired Annah Stretton's trust to help women.
CATALYST: It was Krystal's story that inspired Annah Stretton's trust to help women.

Waikato fashion designer Annah Stretton has launched a mentoring programme to help women dealing with the effects of domestic violence.

The initiative, dubbed Reclaiming Another Woman, or RAW, is being piloted in Hamilton and has already received glowing feedback from the city's women's refuge, Te Whakaruruhau Family Services.

Manager Ruahine Albert said the programme was "a dream" and believed it would be welcomed in other parts of the country.

"We have very little resource to do our basic crisis, transitional and community service, let alone a service when the woman leave."

RAW pairs mentors with woman ready to exit woman's refuge and rebuild their life.

Each person selected for the programme receives 12 months' mentoring and will have access to counselling and life coaching services, as well as educational opportunities.

Ms Stretton said the programme offered non-judgmental, one-on-one support.

"I believe that these women can begin to identify new pathways forward and begin to explore a range of new options and hopefully ignite some very necessary self-belief."

The first participant, Krystal  - who for a time had slept on the streets and was addicted to methamphetamine - is now doing a certificate course at Wintec and works for RAW part time.

Albert said there was a lot of excitement around the initiative at the refuge and there had been 12 woman interviewed for the mentoring programme so far.

"There's a lot of support for it among the woman because what they are seeing is that someone is moving something and it's getting done."

Stretton plans to expand the programme to other women's refuges around the country this year.

Hamilton woman's refuge offers 24/7 support and provides assistance to more than 450 women and children a month.

Waikato Times