It can be really easy to believe that there is no such thing as a free lunch when you are parenting alone, and it is true that not much comes the way of a single parent without a lot of hard work attached, and long hours.
However, the hard work and long hours pay off for parents engaged in the Computers in Homes courses run by Single Parent Services Waikato. The organisation has funding from the Web Access Waikato Trust, which believes in developing partnerships with schools and community groups to ensure everyone has access to computers and internet connection. With this, Single Parent Services Waikato has been able to deliver twenty hours of training and twenty computers to families this year already, and is set to deliver another twenty in October.
This means that forty single parent families will gain access to technology and computers this year alone. Families led by one person are some of the most vulnerable in our city. Over 60% of them are below the poverty line, and families are also vulnerable in terms of employment, education and access to participation in society. Many are survivors of family violence.
Giving families training and computers helps with all of these vulnerabilities. One of the participants of the course earlier in the year told us ‘The computer was my lifeline when depression hit in. When you’re at your worst you don’t want to see people face to face but you don’t want to be completely cut off either’. She would jump online and talk to people who ‘know where you’re at’. The computer made it easier, she could slow herself down and get the words as they needed to be.
Rebecca Fraser, Manager of Single Parent Services Waikato and a Trustee of Web Access Waikato said ‘It is a natural partnership. People who parent alone are really isolated but now, with all the technology available, they should be able to get support at any time. What mostly stops people is the costs of buying a computer and the ongoing cost of internet connection. I’m really proud that Web Access Waikato makes this possible.’