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KidsCan link paying off

Eketahuna School pupils in their new raincoats, as it rained. PHOTO/BECKIE WILSON


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Rural isolation should not be a barrier to getting a good education, and at Eketahuna School, it isn’t.

As a small rural Tararua town with no doctor, no pharmacy, nor a large supermarket, Principal Melinda Cowe wanted another level of support for the pupils and their families.

On Monday, Eketahuna School pupils celebrated in the rain after receiving a rain jacket each, along with bulk supplies including health products and shoes from KidsCan.

“We have some really hardy kids and they are really amazing, but it’s just about making sure they stay as healthy as they can so they can have a good go at education.

“It’s all about removing barriers to learning,” Cowe said.

Cowe said the community was supportive but she wanted to build on that with the help of KidsCan.

KidsCan supports many Wairarapa schools including Featherston School which has been a member since 2015 with Mauriceville School, St Patrick’s and Te Kura Kaupapa Maori O Wairarapa having signed up in 2017, and now Eketahuna School, a decile four school, is on board.

Masterton’s Lakeview School has been part of the programme since 2008.

Cowe moved to Eketahuna School after being deputy principal at Lakeview where she saw first-hand how beneficial the charity’s support could be.

Eketahuna School has been given sports shoes and socks, a range of food including muesli bars, fruit pottles, baked beans, yoghurt makers, bread and hot meals in winter.

“There is always, in every school, going to be some children whose family has a challenge to provide everything that is needed and it’s our job to help out with that.”

Cowe said it was not about singling out children who needed extra support.

All pupils, about 115, were given rain jackets regardless of their background and the snacks are there for any pupil who may need an energy boost during the day.

“I think we are really lucky and the community here is thrilled to get some extra support,” she said.

KidsCan supports 732 schools nationwide by providing food, raincoats, shows and basic health and hygiene items.

Approximately 135,000 New Zealand children live in households that go without seven or more things they need, which could include going without adequate food, suitable shoes and visits to the doctor, according to KidsCan.





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