Finding Strength Together

May 10, 2024

Graham and Sonia; raising their grandchildren, full-time.

When Sonia and Graham became full-time caregivers to their two young grandchildren in 2021, they knew they had to act fast to provide a safe and loving home. But the journey was far from easy.

Sonia and Graham’s grandchildren had experienced trauma and needed special care because they weren't in a safe environment while living with their parents. With limited resources and support, Sonia and Graham felt overwhelmed. That's when they discovered our partner charity, Grandparents Raising Grandchildren – a lifeline of support and guidance that changed everything.

Through Grandparents Raising Grandchildren (GRG), they found a community of fellow grandparents who understood their struggles, and a dedicated advocate in Papakura Support Group Coordinator, Shirley Afoa. Shirley helped them navigate the challenges of raising their grandchildren.

The support group provides a safe space for grandparents like Sonia and Graham to share their feelings, get advice, and connect with others who are going through similar experiences.

“The first meeting, we were invited by Shirley and other grandparents to share our emotions about how traumatised our grandson was at the time. It helped us let go of sadness, anger and worries, turning them into positive thoughts filled with happiness, and put smiles on our babies’ faces”, said Sonia.

Happier and safer times for Sonia and her granddaughter.

Sonia and Graham have been able to access training and resources to help them care for their grandchildren. They've also received practical help like food and clothing for their grandchildren.

“Through GRG, Shirley has helped us on more than one occasion with clothing as we had close to nothing for our grandchildren. We had to start fresh. The food parcels Shirley brings to our home has just been overwhelming for us. Knowing that this will help our financial situation, a weight was lifted off our shoulders”, says Sonia.

Graham and his grandchildren enjoy a fun outing.

“We are very grateful for the ongoing support that GRG has provided us. Shirley is an amazing woman with all the support she has given, I can ring her anytime when feeling down, or if we need help or advice”.

With GRG's support, Sonia and Graham have been able to provide a loving and stable home for their grandchildren.

Story and images supplied by Grandparents Raising Grandchildren.

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