Day 9: I got new shoes!

Nathan's shoes were giving him blisters. Not any more. Read more

Nathan accepts that his mum, Nellie, can't always provide. As Nellie explains...

He would say 'Mum, my shoes are giving me blisters.'

I would say, 'I can't afford to replace them right now. Maybe at Christmas we can get a new pair.'

He would say, 'Mum, I understand.'

That changed when the 10-year-old was matched with a Variety Kiwi Kid Sponsor. A recent item they used the funds for was – you guessed it – shoes.

Nathan chose three new pairs; one for running around, one for casual and one for church. He's proud of his shoes, and holds them up saying, "Mum, which pair should I wear today?"

Nellie tells him, "We're just popping out to the supermarket. Go with the slip-on ones."

Nathan loves school and can't wait for intermediate. His favourite subject is maths and he wants to be a police officer. Nellie encourages him to be ambitious. She says that wasn't how she was raised, but she thinks it's important that her kids dream.

I told him, "You could be a police officer, you could be the first All Black who's also a pastor!"

Nathan with his mum, Nellie

What does poverty look like through the eyes of a child?

You might be living in a cold, damp, over-crowded house. You may not have warm or rain-proof clothing, your shoes may be worn, and on many days you may go hungry or go without nutritious food.

It might mean that you don’t have your own bed, or you sleep on the couch or you share a bed with your siblings or parents, and in winter you all sleep in one room to keep warm. It might mean that the family shares one towel, you don’t have your own toothbrush and you don’t have enough changes of underwear for the week.

Being poor might mean you don’t start school on the first day because your parents can’t afford your uniform or stationery; you can’t attend school trips and camp along with your classmates and are left behind at school. When other kids are talking about the sports they played on the weekend, you can’t contribute because there’s not enough money in the household budget to pay for sports fees, uniform or even petrol to get you to practice or games.

You may know little of the world outside your street as petrol and public transport is too expensive; and as for owning your own bike or digital device, you share one with others in your class.

You don’t get to go to the doctor when you are sick because your parents can’t afford the transport, or pay for the medicine you might desperately need.

Living in hardship can cause you lasting damage. It can mean having poor health, doing badly at school and not getting a good job. 

You can help lift Kiwi kids out of poverty, one child at a time.