A local charity is making positive change in the community by providing support to new mums and their babies.
Mums4Mums started as a grassroots organisation in November 2020 after its founder and managing director Caroline J. Dafoe – known as ‘CJ’ – saw the need for it in Tauranga.
After being approached by a social worker to support a migrant family with twin newborns, and dad at work, what CJ thought was going to be a “one off thing” turned into a “thing thing”.
“What we’re doing is peer-to-peer practical support – it’s emotional, social support in the home and it’s making the world of difference,” says CJ, who is proud that Mums4Mums Charitable Trust has now developed into an official charity.
“The needs in our community are just incredibly high,” says CJ.
“We’ve got families in really tough situations and women feeling pressed because of lack of finance, food poverty; and lack of housing is another big one.”
CJ adds there is a national crisis in regards to maternal mental health in New Zealand.
“Our suicide rates for pregnant mums and women who are post-birth are seven times higher than the UK – that’s a staggering statistic. This is why we have to speak about it – it’s the elephant in the room.”
Despite this, CJ still feels encouraged and positive about the “amazing people in our community who are sacrificing their time to go out and support somebody”.
Tash Dalley started volunteering for the charity as it “resonated” with her.
“I’ve got multiple children myself…just having been in that place before with young babies, I think there’s a big need for support out there,” says Tash.
Volunteering and helping Ilse Pretorious, a mother with twin babies and a toddler, Tash shares what her weekly two hours’ worth of support looks like.
“I take them [the twins] for walks, feed them, just chat with Ilse as well, sit and have a catch up and whatever needs doing we’re at their service – whatever we can help with to take that load off and just make things a little easier,” says Tash.
As a South African migrant, Ilse says Mums4Mums have been awesome.
“As a family from another country we don’t have any family over here so they’ve become our family.”
CJ is thankful to Seeka, which is Mums4Mums first business sponsor, and hopes the charity receives further sponsoring so it may continue to develop and become ‘duplicable’ to provide support in other NZ communities. And also for Tauranga Regional Multicultural Centre, for its support in getting Mums4Mums started in the community.
“I know we’re transforming homes and lives because people are feeling supported and encouraged,” says CJ.