Westpac supports Women and Children Crisis Centre in time of need

09/08/2010 09:49

Westpac Bank of Tonga presented over a thousand pa'anga worth of
donations to the Women and Children Crisis Centre. Staff of Westpac
worked together to collect food, clothes, blankets and a cheque of

Safe House Manager, Sr. Anunisia Fifita accepted the donations with a
big smile, "The generosity of the Westpac staff has touched the hearts
of the workers at the centre and especially the survivors of violence.
These donations are really thoughtful and useful - perfect for the
clients at the safe house".

Westpac General Manager, Mr. Paul Wilkinson excitedly presented the
donations on behalf of the staff at Westpac and indicated that it is
part of an ongoing committment of the bank to supporting essential
services in the community.

It is the latest support as the Crisis Centre raises much needed funds
so that it can continue to operate the safe house and free counselling
services for survivors of violence – including domestic violence, rape
and sexual assault. Over the past three weeks the Centre has been
running a fundraising drive, which included a radiothon and collecting
clothes and food from villages all over Tongatapu.

Since the Crisis Centre established itself as an independent, Non Government
Organisation in late 2009, it has received partial funding from Mama
Cash,Global Fund for Women, and the Fiji Womens Crisis Centre .However
the costs of furnishing and maintaining the safe house (which provides
short term housing for suvivors of violence) have been entirely
reliant on the generosity of
the Tongan community.

Reports of violence against women have been increasing in Tonga, with
Ministry of Police statistics indicating that 2,753 women were victims of
physical abuse since 2000.

WCCC Director, 'Ofakilevuka Guttenbeil-Likiliki said "Eliminating
violence in Tonga requires the support of all parts of our society.
This donation from Westpac is a symbol that the business community
considers violence against women to be a priority area"

"Especially in these times when the Tongan economy is not performing well –
the decision by Westpac to donate to the centre is very much
appreciated.  During times of economic hardship, the number of clients
to the crisis centre also increases” said Guttenbeil-Likiliki.