A Grandmother’s Love

Like most Kiwi kids, Honie (8) and Lockyer (6) love spending time with their “Nannie”, but while many of their peers go home to their parents at the end of the day, these two do not. Elizabeth stepped in to help when the children’s parents separated, taking full custody while juggling her own health woes. The skin and ovarian cancer survivor lives with rheumatoid arthritis. But creating a secure home life for the children is her priority.

Elizabeth is committed to giving the children the most supportive environment she can, but financial strain has meant that providing the basics for her grandchildren is not always possible. Paying for her grandchildren’s food, clothing and school essentials was putting Elizabeth under massive pressure, so she was relieved to learn that Variety New Zealand’s Kiwi Kid Sponsorship programme could help.

Thanks to the generosity of anonymous Kiwis, children like Honie and Lockyer are sponsored and receive funding for basic items through a sponsor’s regular monthly donation. So far Liz has been able to buy the children shoes, warm clothes for winter and cosy bedding to set them up in their new home.

Liz Wilson and Honie

Variety New Zealand’s Kiwi Kid Sponsorship programme was launched in 2013 and to date has connected sponsors with close to 1,400 Kiwi kids living in deprivation to meet their needs.

Sponsors pay a minimum of $35 a month to fund essentials the child would otherwise go without, be it basic clothing, shoes, stationery for school, bedding or medicine. The Variety Kiwi Kid Sponsorship programme is tailored to meet the specific needs of the individual child. A sponsored child’s caregiver requests funds for items and Variety makes all payments directly to the supplier. This ensures the money given is solely for the needs of the child and cannot used for other family bills. Variety works alongside schools, social agencies and healthcare professionals who refer children around the country who most urgently need help.

Elizabeth had already raised her own two sons by the age of 27 and the prospect of parenting all over again came as a shock to her. “Parenting is hard at this age. It is tiring but I do my best to provide the children with everything they need, physically and emotionally. The children have been through a lot with the relationship breakdown of their parents. Honie has selective mutism, so she only speaks when she feels comfortable, and Lockyer has learning and speech difficulties.”

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