Pyjama drive to help foster children


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Associate Professor Caroline Miller is collecting new pyjamas for forster kids


After listening to a Radio New Zealand interview on Foster Hope, a charity that helps children in foster care, Associate Professor Caroline Miller knew she had to get involved.

Dr Miller, from the School of People, Environment and Planning, has been volunteering with the charity for three years, buying and collecting pyjamas and other “bits and pieces”.

Last year more than 6000 children went into foster care in New Zealand. “They often arrive at foster homes in the middle of the night – sometimes with only a bin bag containing a few possessions,” she says. “Some of them have never owned their own toothbrush or pyjamas.”

“They often arrive at foster homes in the middle of the night – sometimes with only a bin bag containing a few possessions,” she says. “Some of them have never owned their own toothbrush or pyjamas.”

Founded in 2010, Foster Hope puts together backpacks with donated essential items for children going into emergency foster care to cover them until funding is arranged. This ensures the carer can focus on settling the child in without having to rush out and immediately buy basic items.

For the past three years, Dr Miller has been volunteering with the charity, buying and collecting pyjamas and other “bits and pieces”.

“Knowing that someone has shopped especially for them is a huge boost to these children’s self-esteem. We want this to be a positive experience as some foster children can feel a bit like second-hand kids themselves. Anything we can do to help them feel loved and valued is a huge part of what we do.”

This year, the charity is aiming to collect 10,000 pairs of pyjamas. “The reality is, she says, that there is constant stream of foster children, there are always children coming into the system,” says Dr Miller.

Staff who want to help can send new pyjamas to Dr Miller at Level 5 in Social Science Tower PN331.

If numerous pairs of pyjamas are donated from one area, Dr Miller can arrange to have them collected. Staff in Auckland and Wellington can also post new pyjamas in the internal mail to Dr Miller.

Dr Miller can also buy on your behalf if you send a donation or alternatively you can donate online. Foster Hope is a registered charity and donations are tax-deductible.

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