We’re putting the Sparkle back into kiwi kids and their families.

What prompted the formation of The Sparkle Foundation?
Our founders each run their own practices working with individuals, children and their families from a variety of different backgrounds.  Through this work they became acutely aware of NZ’s growing statistics around disadvantaged children (child abuse, child poverty, domestic violence, youth offending and suicide rates) and that as a country, we continue to be ranked as one of the lowest out of all OECD countries for the way we treat our children and for their overall wellbeing.  These statistics show that its not just a small handful of children but alarming rates of kiwi kids are living in poverty or experiencing material hardship.

On top of all of that, there are alarmingly high rates of children experiencing anxiety outside of the issues outlined above.  While limited research is yet available, it appears that our fast-paced technological world of today is catching up with many of our young people who are struggling to cope socially, emotionally, mentally and otherwise and the full effect of this is not yet known or fully understood.

“poverty is the parent of revolution
​and crime”

–  aristotle

Whose responsibility is it to support disadvantaged children and their families?
At The Sparkle Foundation, we see it as all of our responsibility to ensure that all kiwi kids are provided with the opportunity to thrive.  We believe that all people are always doing the best they can at the time.  When we look at children and their families with this lense, we work alongside them to provide the unique support that they require without judgement.

It’s easy to judge others, but until we have walked in their shoes we can’t begin to imagine what life is like for them.  Most people are doing the best that they can and aren’t squandering their money on things many of us deem inappropriate or wasteful at the expense of their children.  And where parents are squandering their money, this is usually a sign of larger issues a family needs support with and many are continuing the cycle from when they were once a child living in poverty themselves.

At The Sparkle Foundation, we seek to work with families to assist in resolving these inter-generational and systemic issues; many of which are all that they know from their own upbringing.  We recognise this and seek to support those at this root cause level so that we can help create a better future for our kiwi kids and their families.

What’s the impact of some of these issues?
When children are living in poverty or hardship, they go without the things that many New Zealanders take for granted.  This goes on to exacerbate other areas of their life and create additional issues.  This means that any child living in poverty today can have a bleak future because of the flow on effects.

When a child grows up in hardship or poverty, they may be going without food on many days (or the food they do get doesn’t provide sustenance), may go without clothing and footwear (or those they have are not warm enough or are significantly worn out), may be living in a cold, damp, and/or over-crowded house.  When parents are under such extreme financial pressure and their children are missing out on the basics, this can often lead to conflict which is where much of our domestic violence and child abuse starts.

Many children don’t get to go to the doctor when they’re sick because they can’t afford either the cost of getting to the appointment, the cost of the appointment, and/or the cost of the medicine.  Many children stay home from school because they don’t have the money for all of the uniform, the stationery and/or lunch to take to school.  This is where gaps in education begin – many children are too hungry or aren’t having their needs met at home to focus even when they are at school.

All of this leads to lasting damage; poor education outcomes, poor physical and/or mental health.  This in turn can often lead to youth offending, severe mental health (or even suicide) and can leave children without either the social or academic skills to obtain work when they come of age.  All of this puts ongoing pressure on the welfare and medical systems.

Many children who are living in low income households in New Zealand are also missing out.  Low incomes can prevent children from experiencing a childhood full of the opportunities many of us consider part of growing up as a kiwi kid.

We’re putting the Sparkle back into kiwi kids and their families.