Anna is a reporter at the Bay of Plenty Times

Safehouse wants to extend home comforts

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RENOVATIONS NEEDED: Curtains, carpets and other house items are needed for the tired-looking Shakti safehouse to make it more welcoming for mothers and their children, says manager Sonia Pathak.PHOTO/JOHN BORREN
RENOVATIONS NEEDED: Curtains, carpets and other house items are needed for the tired-looking Shakti safehouse to make it more welcoming for mothers and their children, says manager Sonia Pathak.PHOTO/JOHN BORREN

The finishing touches are to be put on the safehouse that serves migrant and refugee women of Asian, African and Middle Eastern origin in Tauranga who are escaping violent homes.

The Shakti Women's Refuge has spent the last year renovating its safehouse to provide a more comfortable place to stay, but still needs essential items to make the house a home.

Manager Sonia Pathak said ensuring the safehouse was in good condition was important for the women who came to them when their lives were at risk and when they needed a safe haven.

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"Leaving your own house is not easy, so it helps them to realise this place is safe and comfortable and our children are happy," she said. "It does help a lot, especially the children.

I find if the children are comfortable, mum's stress reduces really quickly."

Mrs Pathak said the safehouse meant a great deal to women and children in need, because it gave them the "freedom to make a change in their life".

"They're just a new person, just more independent."

She said although the house was clean and had a good environment, normal wear and tear had taken its toll. "It's coming to the point [where] we need to renovate or upgrade the whole house."

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They had already renovated the kitchen, installed a new shower cubicle and were in the process of creating a playground in the backyard, but still needed "the last bits and pieces". The safehouse needed its carpets replaced, new curtains to keep the house warm in winter, double beds and bunk beds, and bedding.

Mrs Pathak was looking for new chattels for the house, so they would last longer before needing replacement.

She said a comfortable environment would help women adapt to the safehouse.

"Coming from a traumatised situation, it's very confronting."

- Bay of Plenty Times

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