Tamariki living in our poorest communities are twice as likely to end up in hospital than other tamariki. -Child Poverty Monitor 2020
Every child needs a bed of their own.
A proper bed, 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, for too many Kiwi kids in our poorest communities, having their own bed is something they can only dream about.
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 respiratory and other preventable illnesses.
Variety's Winter Appeal asks kind Kiwis to help provide brand new beds and warm bedding for 553 Kiwi kids who are sleeping on the floor or bed-sharing this winter.
1. $45 will fund a warm blanket.
2. $80 will fund a bedding pack (duvet inner, sheets, duvet cover, pillow set, pillow).
3. $343 will fund a single bed, mattress and bedding pack.
4. $688 will fund bunks beds, mattresses and bedding packs.
Please donate at variety.org.nz
Each winter, Variety partners with the government's Healthy Home Initiative (HHI) providers to identify the children who most need beds.
They conduct comprehensive housing assessments for poor families across the country, and then support them to undertake the repairs and other changes to make their homes warmer, drier and healthier.
Julie from the Hawkes Bay lives in a two-bedroom house with her three grandchildren. She turned to her local HHI provider because both bedrooms had extensive mould on the walls – water was getting into the wall and ceiling cavities from a leaky roof.
Her grandchildren shared a bed with her or slept on a broken bed in the second bedroom. The family bed-shared to stay warm and well, but the children were continually getting sick.
Following the Healthy Homes assessment, the roof, ceiling and wall linings were replaced, while Variety provided the children with a set of bunks, a new single bed, new linen and warm bedding.
The family were ecstatic about the improvements. Julie said the kids were "in love with their new beds and snuggly new blankets".
Kiwi kids living in poverty, like Julie's grandchildren, are much more likely than other kids to be admitted to hospital with respiratory and infectious illnesses such as bronchiolitis, pneumonia, chest infections, strep throat and rheumatic fever.
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 553 Kiwi kids living in poverty.