Mothers Project was established in 2015 and is run by the Who Did You Help Today? Trust. The programme connects volunteer lawyers with imprisoned mothers, to try to assist mothers to maintain critical family ties and attachment while they are separated from their tamariki.
We have trained over 100 female lawyers as Mothers Project volunteers. Collectively they have helped over 800 mothers, impacting approximately 2,800 tamariki.
Our team work closely with others, including social workers in the prisons, to help women with a broad range of issues.
We have developed a series of whānau-centred materials that aim to help mothers understand their responsibilites and rights. These are the only such materials currently available in Aotearoa New Zealand.
We also have pamphlets that help whānau understand what it's like to visit mum in prison and how she spends her day. These have been specially written for children.
The “Storybook” initiative (run by the Who Did You Help Today Trust as an extension of the Mothers Project) was developed as another way for imprisoned mothers to stay connected to their tamariki.
Storybook volunteers attend Auckland Region Women's Corrections Facility once a month with a range of children's picture books so that the Mums can choose something appropriate to their child's age and interests. With the assistance of the volunteers, the Mum makes a recording of herself reading the book aloud which is transferred onto a USB flash drive so that children can hear Mum’s voice and know she is still thinking of them despite their physical separation. The child then receives the book, the recording and a card from Mum.
As well as a means of connecting mother and child, Storybook aims to foster a love of books and encourage literacy (for both mothers and children), as well as getting children’s books into households that may not otherwise have a lot of books. To find out how you can support Storybook, click here.
Mothers Project appreciates the generous support from the following: