Karen was encouraged to attend a REAP Lifeskills based course with embedded literacy and numeracy in May 2016 by a local whanau group. Her goal at that stage was to meet people of a similar age and in a similar situation to herself.
Karen attended 3 Lifeskills courses which also included budgeting. Karen expressed delight at how she was now able to manage her family finances in a more positive fashion. Many of these ideas Karen took even further. As a solo mum with 5 daughters money was an issue, especially school camps. With the knowledge she has gained from her REAP Lifeskills course and some helpful tips from REAP staff Karen turned her back garden into a vegetable plot and made chutneys, sauces and jam that we sold at REAP and the funds were forwarded to her children’s school to cover costs.
As a result of discussions during class time Karen realised that she had no connection with her Māori ancestry and felt like a ‘floating island with no roots’. She did not want this for her five daughters and realised that she needed to make changes. With the REAP tutors encouragement and the confidence she had started to gain by the success in the Lifeskills programme, she enrolled in the Open Wananga He Papa Tikanga Programme, though still feeling unsure if she had the ability to be successful as she had left school at fifteen. After just two months on the correspondence course she realised she enjoyed learning and later decided to join the REAP Choices ( Intensive Literacy and Numeracy ) programme in 2017 to work towards achieving NCEA level 2.