The Fordell/Mangamahu branch of Rural Women NZ recently made a donation of $500 to Shine City, effectively sponsoring a course.
Vanessa Paikea is Shine City's course co-ordinator, working out of the Victoria Ave premises.
Apart from ShineWomen courses for women of all ages and ShineWomen Forum in secondary schools, Shine City also offers courses for children aged 11 to 14; ShineGirl for girls and Strength for boys. With all courses being free, fundraising and donations are essential.
"We want to bless our community," says Vanessa, "To unlock potential, to see people live full lives.
"It's really cool when you meet up with people who have been through the course and they look different. They are glowing, have life in their eyes, they're excited ... I will do what I do just to have one person look like that.
"Because we are about partnering with other organisations, we can't take full credit for it: we're just doing our little part. We're part of the jigsaw."
The association between the local branch of Rural Women and Shine City came from the friendship of Vanessa Paikea and Paula Vincent of Rural Women.
"Our children went to Central Baptist Kindergarten together and they have Parent Support Centre 303, so we would drop our children off and go into the support centre," says Paula.
They reconnected through Fordell School where Shine City runs courses and where Paula's children were educated. Paula's son did the Strength course.
"You can see the children going from strength to strength, and they're team leaders by the time they're ready for high school," says Paula.
"So we're really happy to sponsor Shine City and all they do, because we feel it's very valuable to the community."
Clare Adkins, president of the Fordell/Mangamahu branch of Rural Women NZ, says the branch is proud to support some young people in our community to progress with confidence and the knowledge that there is a group of women who believe in them.
"The branch meets monthly and October had an inspiring presentation from Vanessa Paikea about her life, her motivation for starting Shine City and the work she and the team are doing in giving 11-14-year-old girls and boys the confidence to be themselves, to know they have value and self worth, develop good decision making and problem solving skills and to empower them to shape their own futures. Courses are in demand and there is a waiting list for the various programmes. The Rural Women were keen to help by sponsoring a course to the value of $500.
"The F/M branch also annually offers two levels of bursaries. To keep up with the changing shape of education the old secondary school boarding bursary has been changed to help cover the cost of school uniforms and technology devices for students entering high schools from the Whanganui East Rural Schools Cluster and Kakatahi, including Mangamahu, Fordell, Whangaehu, Kaitoke, Upokongaro, Aberfeldy and Okoia.
"The other bursary is offered to students at Whanganui secondary schools 'who are struggling to continue with their education for financial reasons, to help with course and boarding hostel fees; with priority given to those applicants studying a course that will benefit the rural community'. This has a much broader scope than just agricultural or horticultural courses with recent recipients studying medicine, commerce and social work.
"Funds come from a provincial account set up to support rural students to have equality in access to learning opportunities."
This year $5500 was shared between six students heading to high schools next year and two students going on to university. The applicants were all deserving and we wish them the very best for their studies in 2020.
"Rural Women NZ, at the national level, is involved in lobbying government to insure legislation is 'rural proofed' and the local branch welcomes any/all women with an interest in supporting rural women and children to join us — irrespective of where you live."