MEET THE RAW WOMEN

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PATRICIA

Trish arrived at RAW in March 2017 after serving a 3 year prison term for drug-related crimes, but her journey with RAW has been different for a couple of reasons. Firstly, Hamilton was her place of offending so she didn’t have the opportunity of relocating away from her past. Secondly, apart from a three-month period, she has remained living in the RAW homes since her release. Today, Trish oversees all the comings and goings at the RAW homes and is the RAW onsite representative for any issue resolution. Read the full story here.

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Krystal

Krystals world in 2021 is overflowing with energy and optimism for the year ahead and gratitude for everything she has achieved. The Krystal of today is unrecognisable from the girl that Annah sat down with at her cafe seven years ago; the very same girl, in fact, that led Annah to set up the RAW charity in the first place. Back then, Krystal would have been described as a wild child. A meth user, a working girl, and a young mother who had only just escaped with her life from a violent relationship. Read Krystal’s full story here.

INAINA

INA

Ina’s Journey with RAW began in September 2015, just six months after RAW started working with female recidivist offenders. Despite her full-time participation in the programme ending in August 2016, Ina has maintained her connection with RAW and is considered one of RAW’s early and enduring success stories. Ina’s life today is what most New Zealanders would describe as normal, but to Ina, it’s both surreal and complete. Read Ina’s full story here.

GINA

GINA

Gina was the very first woman to join the RAW Programme back in March 2015 after a life of sexual abuse, loss, domestic violence, and drugs placed her on a pathway to prison. Six years on, there is a different woman that stands before us, and RAW has been right there beside her as she has reclaimed herself and redesigned her destiny. Read Gina’s full story here.

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MARY

What has been the key to getting success for you with RAW?

RAW has made restarting life simple and achievable with endless support in all different areas, especially regarding my family situation. They hear what you hold close to your heart and move mountains to see you succeed. With their endless support, all the goals I set 15 months ago have been achieved!

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MADDY

Maddy joined the RAW programme in May 2018 after serving just under two years of her sentence for aggravated robbery. Two years on from leaving RAW, Maddy’s world is close to perfect. The final hurdle will be getting her eldest daughter back early next year, and then she will have exactly what she always wanted – a normal life. Read Maddy’s full story here.

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KYLIE

Kylie joined the RAW programme in June 2017, after serving 15 months in prison. It was to be the beginning of the end of a lifetime spent in and out of youth detention centres, abusive relationships, and drug and alcohol addiction both across Australia and New Zealand. Kylie distinctly remembers the day she met Rebecca inside – “I felt an instant connection, and when she said that RAW would never give up on me and that they would walk alongside me, I felt like all my prayers had been answered.” Kylie stayed in the RAW programme for nine months before branching out on her own in 2018. Two years on, and Kylie’s life is exactly where she wants it to be. Read Kylie’s full story here.

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MYRA

If you were talking to yourself about coming to RAW for the first-time what advice would you give yourself?

The advice about coming to RAW is give it my best. As a lifer coming back to the community is a privilege and I humbly accept the support RAW provides.

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PETRA

Petra’s childhood was a story of abandonment and violence until she was old enough to rebel against those who were hurting her. It started with drugs, gangs and violent relationships, and ended with the silence of prison. Going back to that life was no longer an option, but going it alone wasn’t either. That’s when RAW entered the room. Read Petra’s full story here

LYNDA

LYNDA

For Lynda, a childhood filled with the most unbelievable levels of physical, sexual and mental abuse quite naturally led to an adulthood immersed in violence, gangs, drugs and ultimately prison. It was during her last stint in prison, however, that Lynda decided two things; firstly, that she was never going back to prison again, and secondly, that RAW sounded like the place she needed to be part of. Ever since Lynda’s journey with RAW has been a series of zig-zags that have seen her come and go in response to the ebbs and flows in her life. Lynda is once again on her way back home (to RAW) ready to start 2021 with a renewed commitment to herself and her study. “I’ve got to go back to go forward.” Read Lynda’s full story her

Kath

KATH

It started at the age of four and continued until she was 50, a lifetime of sexual abuse, violence and addiction. Kath was so tightly locked in the grip of intergenerational cycle of disadvantage that it wasn’t until her desperate plea for help landed her in prison that she finally started getting the help she need to. Today Kath is rebuilding a new life of independence and sobriety with RAW. Read Kath’s full story here.

laura

LAURA

For the first 25 years, life was good for Laura, and then meth came onto the scene and her life was the never the same. ‘Make it, Sell it, Enjoy it, Repeat’ was the new routine but that routine came with a heavy price tag that ultimately led to a prison sentence. Prison provided the disruption that Laura needed to retrace her steps and find her way back to her life as a daughter and mother. Read Laura’s full story here.

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LENORA

Life equalled struggle for Lenora from the very beginning. Born into a world full of drugs, alcohol, and violence that lifestyle was always going feel normal. Protector and provider for her brother at 12, stealing food for survival quickly escalated into a journey of crime and rebellion until a case manager started her on a different pathway that led to RAW. Read Lenora’s full story here.

Noreen

NOREEN

Raised in the embrace of her local marae, Noreen’s early childhood was a place of love and belonging until her father’s sudden death at the age of seven. Almost overnight, her life changed to one of struggle, abuse, addiction, and gangs. In 2018 Noreen was sent to prison for assault with grievous bodily harm and the cycle was disrupted. Inside Noreen finally got access to the support and counselling that she needed to heal the wounds of her seven year old self. Read Noreen’s full story here.

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BIRDIE

Birdie’s life story is one of deep-seated neglect, violence, addiction and recidivism. In fact, almost her entire adult life has been spent behind bars and as a result, Prison felt more certain and manageable than the outside world ever did. In 2019, Birdie took a leap of faith and decided to try something different. She made RAW her parole address and RAW’s Te Aroha property her home for 16 months. Read Birdie’s full story here.

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TUI

How has RAW made the difference for you?

RAW is a safe, stable and secure environment where I can learn to live and practise a pro-social lifestyle.

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CHARLOTTE

How has RAW made the difference for you?

It’s sometimes hard to believe where I have come from, when I compare it to where I am now.

I was a drug addict and a criminal, and I had lived that way for the last 10 years. Coming to RAW has changed everything for me.
I have goals and aspirations, and I am being supported to reach my goals. RAW believed in me when no-one else did, and gave me that shot at the good life. I’m currently studying at university, and there is NO WAY I would have had the courage to better myself without RAW’s support.

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What have you learnt about yourself while with RAW that you will take moving forward?

I have learnt to push myself, to set goals and work towards them, and to believe in my skills. I have learnt that I am not a write-off, that I can start again and be the best person that I can be.

What has been the key to getting success for you with RAW?

I have this strong group of women surrounding me, who inspire me every day. The opportunities they offer are real and tangible – I didn’t think I would get employed with a criminal history but they made it happen. I’m able to study and better myself without getting out a huge student loan. The things they do for me are extensive and some things I can’t put into words, its just being there to support me or sending an encouraging text, right at the time I need to hear it. I am so grateful to be part of RAW and that this programme exists.

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NOREFJELL

How has RAW made the difference for you?

RAW has helped me find my voice. I knew RAW was my only hope. The only place that could really help me to grow from everything. We all come out [of prison] thinking different – but if you go back into the environment, you’ve just been pulled out of you automatically give up because no-one else figures you out or gets you, so you automatically go back to what you know.

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Norefjell found the first year with RAW very challenging.

I was being asked to trust in a process, but trust was really hard for me because I thought trust was going to get me abused or used or treated like shit.  I would tell myself watch out, they’re going to want something in return for all the good they were doing – like getting me into Wintec, housing me, getting me part-time work – but all they wanted was for us to live a legal life, a life we deserved.

Fast forward three years and Norefjell has completed her music degree, built up a healthy and robust network of friends at Wintec and, is living a fast-paced life that is full to brimming with challenge and diversity.

There’s no doubt that RAW has enabled Norefjell to restore her confidence, resilience and trust in others, but perhaps the most potent and enduring gift that RAW has given to Norefjell is helping her to find and unlock her voice.

I want to be an inspiration to all sorts of women no matter what journey they’ve walked or what level they operate at. I want my story and my experiences to give women the permission to release the stories that exist within each of us, the ones we’ve kept quiet about for many years.