Editorial: Stories sum up aim of campaign

By Andrew Austin

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Sharon Malaitai earned a lot of respect when she said: "We may be struggling but I'll never teach them they're poor because there are people worse off than us." Photo / Glenn Taylor
Sharon Malaitai earned a lot of respect when she said: "We may be struggling but I'll never teach them they're poor because there are people worse off than us." Photo / Glenn Taylor

It would be a person with a heart of stone not to have been touched by little Sienna Malaitai's story in our paper on Wednesday.

Four-year-old Sienna, along with her family, featured in our series, Fighting Poverty. The story, well told by reporter Harrison Christian, was a good example of a family refusing to give up despite facing incredible hardship. The thing that struck most people (and there were many supportive comments on our Facebook page and website) was the family's attitude. By all account the Mailatai family is doing everything right - the parents have jobs, they care for their children and they look for healthy low-cost options for the family meals.

The real cruel twist to this story is that Sienna was diagnosed with Hodgkins lymphoma, a form of blood cancer, last week.

If ever there was a family who deserved the support of the community, it is this one. Sienna's mother Sharon Mailaitai earned a lot of respect when she said: "We may be struggling but I'll never teach them they're poor because there are people worse off than us."

What a good example to others she is.

The other family to gain huge respect as a result of our series is Taradale's Swannell family who gladly give up their time in winter to feed the homeless from their mobile soup kitchen.

Once again we received quite a bit of feedback online for the work they do and Kiri Swannell said the family has been "overwhelmed" by the support.

It is stories like these that have made Hawke's Bay Today's Fighting Poverty campaign worthwhile. The aim of the campaign was to draw attention to the plight of people, who through circumstances or even wrong choices in their life, are struggling.

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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