Living through multiple lockdowns and the Covid-19 pandemic tested many people’s resilience, particularly young people. Now with climate change and the impacts of cyclones and severe weather being felt across the motu, conversations on mental health and wellbeing are crucial as our tamariki navigate online education, isolation and concern about their future.
As part of a focus on community wellbeing, the Bupa Foundation Community Grant Programme donated $10,000 to the Graeme Dingle Foundation to deliver their Kiwi Can programme to over 800 students at Finlayson Park School, Manurewa over the past year.
Kiwi Can mentors work with tamariki to teach values such as integrity and respect, helping build mental resilience to work through difficult situations or conflict.
Graeme Dingle Foundation General Manager Sian Neary says, “The effects of the pandemic and time away from school have meant many tamariki have struggled emotionally. This programme supports our children to build confidence that if they’re in a challenging situation or are feeling uncomfortable, they have the tools to seek help. They have the confidence to talk to their peers, a teacher, or parents, and to understand their place in society.”
The grant supports a year of running the programme at Finlayson Primary School.
Sian says, “Government funding only covers 2% of contributions needed to run the programme which makes us reliant on donations from the likes of Bupa to support our programmes.”
Finlayson Park School Principal Shirley Maihi says the results of the programme are proving encouraging.
“We’re seeing such a positive shift in our tamariki. They might have had a bad night at home, but when they arrive at the school gate they just start beaming. School becomes a safe space for a lot of students.
“The weekly lessons delivered by the Kiwi Can team focus on building positive relationships and communication styles, how to deal with conflict, fairness and fair play and help to develop leadership skills,” says Shirley.
Bupa Erin Park Care Home Manager’s Glory-May Recierdo and Melissa Briones nominated the Graeme Dingle Foundation to ensure the programme could reach more students in their local community.
Melissa explains, “The charity’s work isn’t just about physical wellbeing for the children, it’s about helping them feel confident in who they are and providing opportunities to lead their friends and classmates.
"It’s about helping them discover their inner potential. They begin to understand who they are and the future they can have. It’s programmes like this that help give children the confidence to realise their talents.”
The Bupa Foundation provides funding each year to grass-roots initiatives that help improve mental health, and wellbeing or supports environmental sustainability in our communities throughout New Zealand. In 2022, eight local organisations throughout New Zealand were selected to receive $10,000 grants.