Falling pregnant at 14 was a major interruption to Louise Manaena's education. After giving birth to number three, she wanted more from life.
"I didn't know what I wanted to do - I just needed some direction," she said. "I needed to do something for myself."
In this Local Focus video, Louise talks about how she escaped her predicament. After seeing a Facebook post she enrolled in a programme at The Development Hub in Hastings.
"The Development Hub supports people, business and communities and we provide work-ready training programmes to support wahine here in Hawke's Bay," founder Sarah-Jo Barley said.
"It started off seeing a big need for women to be able to become competitive in the job market and be able to work through both personal challenges and get some professional confidence in order to be able to move into employment, education or training opportunities."
Sarah-Jo admits that inter-generational benefit dependencies and inter-generational cycles of abuse are real, and some women are significantly challenged by it.
"We have huge gang affiliations [in Hawke's Bay] and the challenges that come with the peddling of drugs."
Working with women from various backgrounds, they've come to know the main problems faced.
"We've coined the term 'The Big Five': Substance abuse, inadequate housing, gender-based violence, economic barriers and just a lack of real social connectedness.
"We are often trying to ensure that the content that we put forward and the environment that we create can help solve or challenge or work through some of those indicators that the women present."
She said regardless of challenges, the women had "hustle" and went on to be valued employees.
"They want to design better futures for themselves and their children.
"They are professional, capable and committed to the mahi they do. And it shows."
When Louise took the course at The Development Hub she spent a lot of her time helping those around her, so was offered a job there as a facilitator.
"It's the only job I've ever had," she said.
"A lot of the women on our programmes ... I suppose they are a bit like me ... just needing direction in their life, a place to step back out into the world, a place that believes in them, that knows their potential and their worth," she said.
The Development Hub offers women a chance to relax and build the best version of themselves.
"It is not unusual for candidates to be in inadequate, emergency or transitional housing," Sarah-Jo said.
"We have a massive housing shortage here in Hawke's Bay and many of our whānau are doing it hard in this market.
"The fact that some women arrive at 9am, having come from a hotel room in emergency housing, is a testament to their commitment for change."
The Business Hub's programmes are based on contracts with government agencies. Usually, more than 80 per cent that complete programmes go on to employment or further training, but there are other measures of success.
"The best part of our job is seeing and hearing these women and watching them grow.
"From coming in often nervous and anxious to ending up excited, laughing and hugging, celebrating the wins. The jobs they get and the houses they can buy and the kids' goods that they can purchase."
Some contracts targetted younger women but Sarah-Jo said so far mixed-age courses were the most successful.
"We see the youth being very inspirational, encouraging and bringing a lot of light and energy to a room. We see a lot of wisdom and experience through some of the older women that can pass that knowledge onto the youth, so it is a really symbiotic relationship."
She said New Zealand had good support structures but many women were too consumed within dire circumstance to access assistance.
"It is hard to get information out and into communities, where it needs to be. I think if it gets given as a directive and as a 'you-have-to-have' then there is often a reluctance to take up some of that support available.
"From experience, I think it has to be self-driven and from within. You have to be able to build trust and build relationships to be able to identify some of the challenges women have, in order to be able to support them through it."
She said nervousness at the first class was not unusual.
"Many of our women have been out of the workforce for a long time, so they are not used to being in a very professional environment, so it creates nerves and anxiety.
"Laid on top are often big mental-health challenges – there is a lot of anxiety and depression which has compounded since Covid.
"There is a reluctance to engage in the unknown, so sometimes just getting people to walk through the door is the first sign of success."
But, she said, a lot of good things can happen in just four to six weeks.
"If we can constantly engage with somebody on a daily basis, provide a positive environment for them and help link them to other women in the same environment, then we can really progress a long way.
"We have women always coming out feeling more confident, more inspired, more able to engage, more able to see futures that include buying their first homes, holding down jobs that they enjoy and providing for their families."