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Te Rourou, Vodafone Aotearoa Foundation, supports digital inclusion efforts at VOYCE – Whakarongo Mai

Devices and connectivity donation support VOYCE’s mission of building a community of confident and capable young people in foster or whānau care

Te Rourou, Vodafone Aotearoa Foundation, has a vision of an Aotearoa New Zealand where all young people have access to the resources and opportunities they need to thrive, to have a sense of agency, and to see each and every young people living a life they value, with a bright future ahead.

As a small step towards making this vision a reality, the Foundation is donating 180 mobile phones, each with a charger, headset and Vodafone prepay SIM loaded with $49 credit, to one of their longstanding partners, VOYCE – Whakarongo Mai.

VOYCE is an independent charity organisation that helps to advocate for the approximately 6,000 children in foster or whānau care in New Zealand, pushing for big outcomes that reflect the voice of those in the care system.

As Lani Evans, Head of Te Rourou, explained “Devices and connectivity can be out of reach of rangatahi in care and we wanted to help increase digital inclusion among this group. While there is so much more to do to really address systemic digital exclusion, every bit counts and we’re pleased to help 180 rangatahi get access to mobile connectivity in this way.”

VOYCE has long been a partner of the Vodafone Aotearoa Foundation, and a representative of the organisation joined Vodafone in Wellington in 2019 to officially turn on the Vodafone 5G network.

“From VOYCE's beginnings, young people spoke of the need to be connected as it ‘reduces isolation, creates inclusion and is necessary for our lives to be more ordinary and less extraordinary- which is a good thing’. I love that Vodafone understands this and support young people to have access to the digital world. Thanks Vodafone!” said Tracie Shipton, CEO of VOYCE.

Providing devices and digital connectivity to rangatahi also aligns with VOYCE’s Five Guiding Pou (pillars), to build leadership, a collective voice, connection, and advocacy for children and young people in care, and to help better equip them for their future (rangatiratanga, tuhono, whakatairanga, whakamana, whai pukenga).

“I saved my pocket money for months to get my first phone when I was in care, which was so important to me because it meant I could text my friends and wider support system. I’m so grateful to know that Vodafone’s donation will be a real game changer in some young people’s lives, giving them the autonomy to reach out to their community,” said one of the rangatahi who benefitted.

For more information about Te Rourou, please visit foundation.vodafone.co.nz

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