Myths about hardship
There are common misconceptions when it comes to children living in hardship.
There is a lack of understanding about families living in hardship, and because of this parents are sometimes blamed, believing they are spending money on the wrong things or that they take advantage of the welfare system and don’t have or seek employment.
This is often not the case. Here some of these common myths.
Hand up, not a hand out
By providing practical support such as food, clothing and health care, we are giving children the opportunity to make the most of their education and break the generational cycle of hardship. Education gives our future generations the chance at a better life and a chance to break the cycle of hardship for good.
We believe that the disadvantaged children we support deserve the opportunity at a fair start in life. They are the future generations of New Zealand and without our help they don’t have the same chance to reach their full potential in life. The parents we support are embarrassed they can’t provide for their children, and placing blame doesn’t solve the issue – we need to give everybody who needs it a hand up in New Zealand.
In our ten years of supporting disadvantaged children we have found no evidence that parents are taking advantage of KidsCan support. In fact, our experience working with schools and families tells us the majority of our parents are very good parents who are embarrassed that they can’t provide for their children but are thankful we are there in times of need.
Life skills lost in generational hardship cycle
We have seen important and varied life skills lost through generational hardship; from learning how to grow and cook nutritious food, to preparing financial budgets. Most of us take this education for granted. By ensuring all children engage in quality education we can help stop children in hardship becoming adults in hardship.
Our newest initiative, Orchards in Schools, is developed to help children and their communities learn life skills such as planting and caring for trees that are a source of fresh healthy food.
Parents aren’t working
There is often speculation that parents of children living in hardship aren’t in paid employment. However the 2016 Child Poverty Monitor shows that of the 295,000 children living in hardship, 45% of them have a household income from adults in paid employment.
There is also speculation that the parents of children living in hardship are sole parents. The 2016 Child Poverty Monitor shows that of the children living in hardship, 48% are from two parent families.
To clear up three of the biggest myths around child hardship in New Zealand we spoke to Margaret Samson, principal of Edmonton Primary School, and Julie Chapman, KidsCan CEO.