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Student-led Women's Refuge Appeals Week gives back to community

Thursday, 20 July 2017 11:16am

Students Sara Lomaloma and Tessa Bennett with some fundraising items at the Girls' Night.

The Women’s Refuge Appeals Week has begun, and the Otago University students behind the cause are looking forward to topping the success of last year’s event.

Now in its second year, the Te Whare Pounamu Dunedin Women’s Refuge Appeal is organised by a core group of Otago law students and, as of this year, is supported by around 100 student volunteers.

Over the past two years the students have raised almost $40,000 for the Refuge so it can dedicate resources to helping women and children in need.

Organiser Maddi Ingham, a 4th year law student, calls Women’s Refuge an “important and underfunded charity.”

“Appeals Week takes a lot of our time but we like giving something back to the community."

Georgia Irwin, Melanie Morris (centre) and Lucy Kingsbury greet visitors at the Girls' Night raffle table.

Organised primarily through the Law Society, Maddi says she first got involved through the Law for Change programme. After the previous organiser graduated, Maddi stepped into the role and it became separate from Law for Change as a general fundraising committee.

Maddi says the Appeals organisation takes an “unbelievable amount of administrative work” but they're all tasks she enjoys.

Appeals Week relies on donations from local businesses and organisations for auction items and prizes/goodie bags for the events, and Maddi has been amazed by the supportive responses from local businesses.

WRAW Girls' Night bags small
Goodie bags donated by local businesses wait for Girls' Night movie-goers.

“The best thing is getting positive responses from businesses- we send out so many inquiry emails and you start to get tired of all the ‘no’s.”

This year’s programme boasts five fundraising events, with Tuesday night’s Girls’ Night movie screening and raffle sale at the Otago Museum a success with goodie bags and drinks donated by local businesses. On Wednesday morning, the students ran a cheerful bake sale at the Dunedin Hospital foyer.

Tonight, they are holding the always popular Quiz Night at the Lone Star, and Saturday will find the students on the streets of Dunedin for the Street Appeal. Lastly, the formal Auction Evening on Friday the 28th of July will be an exciting and heart-warming event that always attracts a large crowd.

Maddi says it’s “great for us to have a connection with the Refuge, but hopefully most people won’t have to connect with their resources in their lifetime.”

To buy tickets for the Women's Refuge Appeals Week Auction Evening on the 28th of July, head to the Women's Refuge website or to donate, click through to the Women's Refuge givealittle page.