The diggers have arrived and the work has started! We can now start to make the physical changes to our premises that will allow us to improve and expand the services we are able to offer to our families.
Bishop Patrick Dunn blessed the site for redevelopment following a Mass to celebrate the feast of St Vincent de Paul. The ceremony was led by Maori Elders Rangi Davis and Whaea Kataraina; and our families, staff, supporters and members of the local community all joined us for what was a fitting start to our future plans.
The new Childcare Centre and Learning Centre are part of phase one of the redevelopment, followed by increased self-contained accommodation for families in need. We’re incredibly proud of the high standards of our accommodation, and we plan on making all units self-contained through this redevelopment as well as increasing the total number of units to 11.
We provide an excellent standard of care for our children in our current playgroup and are very excited that they will have ground level indoor/outdoor flow in a modern building built to Ministry of Education standards. Our new Learning Centre will allow us to offer modern and relevant educational courses for adults and programmes for children afterschool and during the holidays.
We have raised the majority of the money for the project but invite you to play a valuable part in this exciting venture by financially supporting us. Currently we can only accommodate 1 in 13 families who apply to us for housing support and with your help we aim to increase this number over time.
Marlar @ De Paul House
De Paul House is very proud of our wonderful volunteer Marlar Thu, who was one of 10 volunteers chosen to represent “The Changing Face of Volunteering”. Please read her story below.
Shoes donated to De Paul House, either too small, or slightly worn, most likely pass through the loving hands of Marlar. She sorts, laces, and cleans them–ensuring children have warm feet for the coming winter. Marlar, as a volunteer, cares about helping families get back on their feet.
Today, as Marlar’s nimble fingers buckle the strap of a black dress shoe, size 3, she tells us about her life in Burma. Years ago, carrying only one bag and her small children, she fled to the jungle. The government hunted and oppressed people like Marlar who supported the move for democracy. Living, and hiding, in the jungle affected her children a lot. After life in a Thai refugee camp, arriving in New Zealand was new and different but not always easy. For several months the sound of an Auckland helicopter overhead evoked fear for the children.
De Paul House provides hope, and help to families crippled by hardship from a lack of resources. Lesley, volunteer manager, says the common denominator here is debt from low wages and high rents. She says De Paul House offers “wrap around services,” teaching courses in financial literacy, computers, CV writing, parenting skills and even exercise. The place is a temporary sanctuary providing a pathway out of desperation.
Soon after settling here, Marlar wanted to show the people of New Zealand her appreciation. “I want to help but I can’t speak English. How can I do?” she asked her support family. The De Paul House volunteer programme was the answer. One year later, Marlar is busy raising five children and working a paid job. But every Monday morning, she joins with the volunteer team and is devoted to sorting shoes, folding clothes, and helping those who are now living a life of homelessness, as she once lived.