RAW On-the-Outside offers an unprecedented level of support to enable wahine to start a journey of re-integrating back into the community and building a legal life for themselves and their tamariki.
RAW’S multi-layered support model starts pre-release before moving beyond the prison gates with safe accommodation based in the Waikato, mentoring, education scholarships and/or employment opportunities. Each of these layers had been carefully chosen to counteract the reintegration barriers that each woman faced as soon as they left the prison gates.
In May 2019 RAW opened a new centre of care, located in the small rural town of Te Aroha, to provide all newly released wahine with the optimal space to settle, stabilise and begin their reintegration journey. Called HE HAUMARU TE ATAWHAI [The Sanctuary], the purpose of this centre is to create a highly supportive and supported living and learning environment where wahine can have the time and space to:
Build fundamental social, communication and lifestyle skills
Shed institutionalised behaviour and thinking
Get ready for full reintegration without distraction
He Haumaru, Te Atawhai is a continuation of the RAW community that each woman has been immersed in prior to her release. Once again, He Haumaru is community-led and self-governing with a highly functional RAW woman living on-site and supporting the smooth running of the centre in accordance with the principles that have been developed by the community.
“We want our new releases to be busy, tired and joyful at the end of each day at the Sanctuary. We want them to experience joy from their surroundings, their learning experiences and the emergence of new lifestyle behaviours. We believe joy and keeping active will be the secret to their early reintegration success in contrast to deprivation and house rules which to date hasn’t been effective”
At the end of 12 weeks, the next stage of strength building is commenced in the Hamilton incubation houses, which are also run by the women. Surrounded by a community of women on the same journey, each woman can begin the process of immersing herself in the wider community safe in the knowledge that there is a reservoir of positive support and encouragement at home base.
The RAW women also work with the RAW Team on identifying employment opportunities and/or courses of studies that will enable them to begin the process of building purpose, prosperity, and independence for their whānau.
In 2019 RAW is looking to extend the reach and magnitude of its social impact by providing disadvantaged women, emerging from an incarcerated environment, with the very best opportunity to upskill and prosper in the Auckland market through a social enterprise structure. Called ‘The Butterfly Project’, this project enables RAW to leverage all the learnings and experience set of the charity’s existing employer collaborations, along with the commercial expertise of the charity’s founder, to lift the social impact that it can facilitate in New Zealand’s biggest market – Auckland.
The Butterfly Project will enable RAW to establish a highly supportive and supported Learning and Earning community where the women can go to:
Build confidence, skills and pro-social connections to enable them to prosper with purpose in Auckland.
Feel a strong sense of connection and belonging; respected for who they are and who they want to become, not judged and excluded because of where they’ve been.