While empowerment as an approach is integrated into implementing our projects and programmes, we also have specific empowerment projects targeted for our seniors.
These empowerment projects have the objective of building the capacities for volunteers to become a catalyst for social change. Some projects are volunteer-driven, implemented for the benefit of others and there are other exclusive projects being run for the volunteers with an empowerment perspective. Through these projects, volunteers feel they are a valuable source of giving back to the society.
Community Safety Ambassadors Project
This project was started in 2014 in collaboration with NZ Police to disseminate information and messages on safety tips on the community. These senior volunteers are trained to become the Community Safety Ambassadors and support the police run the campaign. This project has boosts the confidence of senior volunteers, who feel involved in the community initiatives and are proud of being appreciated by the Police Department.
SAKHI Project is a Women's Prison Visiting project implemented for South Asian women. In the project, senior volunteers visit the women prisoners and have discussions with them on routine things and encourage values of love, care, and affection. The intended objective is to provide them with guidance on rehabilitating back into society. By involving senior women as mentors to the clients, the benefit is two-fold. While women prisoners feel comfortable and have an elderly to share their feelings with during the tough time, the senior volunteers also feel that their life experiences and age are respected and valued.
Knitting Project is the first project started with the perspective of empowering seniors. The seniors as volunteers would knit woollen clothes for newborn babies and donate them to the Middlemore Hospital. This initiative still continues. The Volunteers are empowered sufficiently to solely implement the project with very little guidance from the staff.
This project address both the needs of the seniors and also target the identified needs in the community through the Prevention First strategy. Many seniors expressed their interest to do more for society and contribute their time voluntarily. This pilot project was initiated to involve and engage the seniors meaningfully.
- Opportunity to participate and contribute.
- Aid “Prevention First” strategy of NZ Police.
- Delivered in collaboration with NZ Police – Auckland Central District, Auckland City Council and Onehunga Chinese senior group.
- This program is held once a month and managed by Shanti Niwas with the help of the community police.
- 25 seniors have enrolled to deliver the project so far.
- Onehunga and surrounding suburbs (Onehunga, Royal Oak, One tree hill etc.)
- Seniors who wants to volunteer go through police security clearance.
- Empower seniors, reduce social isolation
- Seniors are motivated, builds their confidence
- Feel part of the community
- Gain knowledge of Safety issues
- Seniors association with the police will also help to protect themselves from elder abuse and neglect issues.
- Increase connectivity, build capacity and social cohesion
- Build resilient communities
- Create “feel safe, be safe” aspect