Kids in poverty bear the brunt of high rates of winter illnesses: 28,000 are hospitalised each year for diseases linked to poor sleeping environments. - Nevil Pierse, Associate Professor at the University of Otago & Co-Director of He Kainga Oranga.
Every child needs a bed of their own.
A warm dry bed can make a huge difference to child's health and wellbeing. Many share a bed with family members, or take turns sleeping on the couch, the floor, or a mouldy mattress, which makes them prone to hospital admissions for contagious respiratory and other preventable illnesses.
Their own bed is where they can rest their growing brains and bodies, heal when they are ill, and dream about their futures. At the end of a long, chilly day, cuddling down into their own warm bed is vital for a child's health and wellbeing.
Sadly, 1 in 10 children in our poorest communities don't have their own bed. A warm bed and bedding is something they can only dream about.
Variety's Winter Appeal needs your help to provide brand new beds and warm bedding for 1100 Kiwi kids who will have to sleep on the floor or bed-share this winter.
- $45 will fund a warm blanket.
- $80 will fund a bedding pack (duvet inner, sheets, duvet cover, pillow set, pillow).
- $343 will fund a single bed, mattress and bedding pack.
- $688 will fund bunks beds, mattresses and bedding packs.
Each winter, Variety partners with the government's Healthy Home Initiative (HHI) providers to identify the children who are most in need of beds.
They conduct comprehensive housing assessments for low-income families across the country, and then support them to undertake the repairs and other changes to make their homes warmer, drier and healthier.
Sarah is a solo mum of three children aged 3, 8 and 9. Sarah has been in and out of Starship with her 8-year-old boy Zane who has had renal failure and a kidney transplant. The older children were topping and tailing in one bed. Sarah was worried that any colds or other viruses would be passed to Zane because of the bed sharing. She also wanted Zane to have his own bed so he could heal and recover from his illness. She contacted her local HHI, which was able to provide bunkbeds, mattresses and bedding for the two older children using money donated through last year's Warm Hearts Winter appeal. Even the three-year-old was able to move out of mum's bed into their own single bed. The kids were excited to have their own beds.
Mary Fisher, a registered nurse and rheumatic fever prevention coordinator at Turanga Health in Gisborne says, "Children who share beds are far more at risk of spreading bugs between them. Strep throat that can sometimes lead to Rheumatic Fever is easily spread and when you are sleeping it is not possible to cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze and hence spread the bugs. Skin infections are another example of an illness that can be easily spread when bed sharing."
It's a cruel irony that too often, hospital is the place that a child living in poverty gets the chance to sleep in a warm bed.
A warm, dry bed of their own helps a child stay healthy and out of hospital. A healthy child is a child who can thrive, learn and dream.
Your gift today will help provide beds and warm bedding for 1100 Kiwi kids living in poverty.