Te Rourou, the Vodafone Aotearoa Foundation, supports Lifewise to provide digital connectivity for rangatahi in lockdown

Vodafone Foundation’s donation provides up to 100 young people in youth housing program with mobile data to stay connected to friends and whānau through lockdown

As New Zealand entered the latest lockdown, Lifewise turned to Te Rourou, Vodafone Aotearoa Foundation, to help support rangatahi in their youth housing program with digital connectivity so they could stay connected with their friends and whānau while isolating at the communal residence in West Auckland.

One of the biggest challenges of level 4 lockdown is social isolation, because people are restricted to their household bubble, and so they must rely on digital technology to stay connected to their community. For disadvantaged rangatahi in Lifewise’s Youth Housing Program lack of digital connectivity is yet another barrier they must face.

Peter Shimwell, Community Services Manager at Lifewise explains, “We know lockdown is hard for some young people and it’s particularly hard for those that can’t access digital life. The wellbeing and mental health of our young people is paramount and we wanted to ensure all rangatahi in our communal residence are able to stay connected to their friends, whānau and support networks.

“Te Rourou, Vodafone Aotearoa Foundation has been a long-time partner and supporter of Lifewise so we reached out for their support as soon as the lockdown was announced. Thanks to their quick action and generous support we’ve provided up to100 young people with mobile data so they can stay connected in lockdown.”

Young people are over-represented in the homeless community and are at higher risk of contracting Covid-19, particularly as New Zealand faces another community outbreak and level 4 lockdown.

Lani Evans, Head of Te Rourou says, “Lifewise are doing some important mahi to understand the size and scope of the youth homelessness crisis in Tāmaki Makaurau and we’re proud to assist with funding their kaupapa Māori rangahau.

“But we know that youth homelessness affects all of Aotearoa and that’s why we also provide funding to Manaaki Rangatahi, a youth housing and homelessness collective that is dedicated to preventing and ending youth homelessness in Aotearoa.”

Vodafone has a number of community partnerships across Aotearoa NZ, with a number of funding programs in place to support disadvantaged youth. For more information about the work of the Vodafone Foundation, please visit:

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