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Project Awhi founder to visit Christchurch

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Project Awhi founder to visit city to share views on building healthy families

The Christchurch Mayor’s office has joined with the Families Commission to host a visit by Project Awhi founder Haami (Sam) Chapman who will share his experience and views on strengthening families and communities.

The visit is one of several events being held in Christchurch during the lead up to White Ribbon Day on Saturday 25 November. The White Ribbon campaign is an international movement to eliminate violence against women.

Haami Chapman and his wife Thelma live in Otara, Manukau City and are the founders of Project Awhi, a community aid and development charity assisting children, families and communities in need. Mr Chapman is also a trustee for World Vision and has 30 years experience in community development.

The Chapman’s initiatives include establishing a family-focused supportive community in Otara for extended whānau and others who would benefit from living in this manner. The community is spread across a dozen homes and includes an early childhood education centre and whanau centre.

Those who have lived there include former gang members who have resolved to build their capacity as whānau, fathers and partners. Their aim was also to live a violence-free life. Mr Chapman’s work with Project Awhi, and particularly his work with gang members, was recently featured on TV3’s 60 Minutes.

He also offers workshops that encourage, inspire and support others working to develop communities using families as the catalyst for change.

“Our work uses the strengths within individual communities to improve the capacity of families. We help them to understand how money works and how it can work for them. The desired outcome is for these families to overcome poverty, family violence, illiteracy and other challenges such as improving housing conditions,” he says.

Christchurch Mayor Garry Moore says Mr Chapman’s visit to the city provides an ideal opportunity for community discussion of an issue at the forefront of our minds.

“Sharing ideas on the ways our community can develop a local strategy to change attitudes towards family violence is vital. Strengthening and building the capacity of families is something Mr Chapman has achieved great success with. His experiences have a lot to offer our community,” Mr Moore says.

Lyn Campbell, a Christchurch Commissioner for the Families Commission, says "there is an alarming prevalence of family violence in our communities and this visit by Sam Chapman will allow us to hear from someone who knows what will work to bring lasting change."

ENDS

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