The Setting up of “4thekids”, by Caro Cragg
In 2011 a group of friends got together and decided not enough was being done in Aotearoa/ New Zealand to bring awareness to the scourge of child abuse , including
that there was not enough support for families caught in the epidemic in their communities. “4thekidz” was born by six people, myself and five others, putting our heads together and saying ” we can make a difference.” We all believed that we, the world as a village, could make sure that there was knowledge of where and how abuse could be addressed as a community.
At first we felt we could change and save the world, but we quickly realised that in fact , it was about educating and supporting one person at a time , and spreading that support by speaking out at every opportunity , (at clubs, awareness days, community groups and so on) that would open people’s eyes as to how to affect change .
In 2013 one of our founding members Suzy Brown created “tedz4thekidz”. She saw how children going through forensic examination, already traumatised by the abuse that had led to this examination, needed something to comfort them. Many children where also facing removal from their home and family whilst investigations continued, some never to return to those homes .
These packs are delivered to the forensic units as required . We never meet the children who receive them. The packs are not a gift or reward, they are given to the child purely to comfort them at this most stressful time .
At 4thekidz we hope one day to be redundant, although that may not be anytime soon , but we do believeit will happen. 4thekidz tedz projects operate in seven areas around NZ , with Tray being our co-ordinator in Dunedin. We know Tray has great support, but she needs more, until the day she too can say — “we are no longer necessary, we are redundant.”
This is my project then, my “baby” , “tedz4kidz”, that I’m starting down here in Dunedin, as the co-ordinator for the Dunedin area. “Tedz4kidz” is also expanding nationwide, through many other centres. The more people know about the cause and talk about it , the more it helps others speak up, so hopefully it will help stop another child being taken too soon.
“Tedz forkids” provides comfort packs consisting of all NEW donated products: blankets, soft toys, crayons/pens, colouring books/journals and torches. These packs are made up with love by myself and other volunteers. Each one is unique and will carry a story, hopefully, of love and comfort for years to come. Packs are made up in boy/girl and age appropriate , they are then given to the local police station where they will be handed out to children traumatised from abuse and forensic testing.
I hope that writing this article wll help get the word out and get both “tedz forkids” and “4thekids” recognised more, especially down here in the south. We need to keep our eyes and ears open, speak up and break the cycle of abuse. This project is close to my heart, I’ve been through abuse and have come out the other side as a survivor and a stronger person, so I now hope to help make a difference for others.