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Women Blossom At Camellia House

Women Blossom At Camellia House

Living proof of the term ‘unsung hero’ can be found in the suburbs of South Auckland, where women and their young children seek refuge from situations that force them from thier family homes.

Camellia House, a unique women’s refuge centre which has been helping families for more than two decades, relies on the generosity of the public to ensure the women who need its services receive the best possible care.

And, though it does for most of us, Christmas does not feel like a distant memory for the residents of Camellia House, after members of the Auckland Downtown Rotary Club made it a holiday to remember.

Marlene Bolton, the Chief Executive Officer of Camellia House, has been with the organisation for close to 20 years and says this past Christmas was the best she has seen. “We were blown away not only by the support of the Auckland Downtown Rotary Club, but by the volume of gifts, which meant that both the children and their mothers were able to feel special and open a present.

“It was also heart-warming to know that these generous individuals had gone out of their way and specially bought gifts, instead of passing on used items they no longer need.

Each year, we make a promise to give the kids who stay with us a jolly good Christmas, and in my 19 years with Camellia House, I have never seen such a high-calibre selection Working hand-in-hand with varying referral agencies, such as doctors, counsellors and Housing New Zealand, Camellia House offers sanctuary to victims of physical abuse and women with disabilities or mental health issues. The centre helps residents with protection orders and school enrolments for children, and recently opened a new walk-in centre in Manurewa where locals can find assistance with day-to-day support, from paying power bills to accessing the Citizens Advice Bureau.

Auckland Downtown Rotary Club member David Graham says the club has stepped in to support Camellia House over a number of years. “We are truly inspired by the work of Camellia House, and for our club to be able to offer assistance in this way really resonates with what Rotary sets out to do – support the community.

It is a very worthy cause and the work of Marlene and her team in empowering women to live independent lives, free of violence, is invaluable.”

Members of the Auckland Downtown Rotary Club rallied together to donate a total of 150 gifts to Camellia House residents.


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