Changing the lives of Southlanders
Have you ever felt so inspired by someone that you just had to do something to help? That’s how Invercargill property consultant Carl Wilson, manager Fergus Hosie and the rest of the hoamz team felt upon meeting Janice Lee. Janice is the founder of an incredible Southland organisation – Koha Kai.
Whilst working within the community with people disadvantaged by disability, Janice identified a need for these individuals to become more independent, both for themselves and to enable them to show the positive contributions they can make to others. In a life-changing move, Janice gave up her job and became the driving force behind Koha Kai. Starting small, the organisation began with Janice teaching a few people how to cook, budget for food and lead healthier lives through their food choices. Fast forward a few years and Koha Kai now comprises a team of 34, made up of trainees, team leaders, volunteers and an administrator, with trainees learning all of their former curriculum and now cooking meals to serve in Southland schools for a koha (donation) - plus learning to grow food from scratch too! Gaining skills in hospitality and horticulture, trainees can work towards gaining NZQA qualification units, ultimately leading to mainstream employment.
Janice talked to us about how challenging and time consuming it can be to move her trainees around, with her and the volunteers using their own cars and fuel and often having to make many trips. After hearing everything this humble lady had achieved, it seemed the least we could do to find a way to help solve one of her problems.
A 10-seater van with wheelchair lift was sourced, repaired and renovated, repainted inside and out and finally signwritten in Koha Kai’s distinctive colours. Finally, in July 2017 we were able to present the van to Janice and her team – an emotional day for everyone concerned.
We at hoamz are proud and humbled to have been able to help Janice make a difference in the lives of those disadvantaged by disability. We couldn’t have done it without the support and sponsorship from other amazing Southland businesses including:
Southern Ocean Safety Equipment
Executive Car Services
Southland Car and Commercial Painters
Thanks Invercargill, what a truly fantastic community we’re privileged to live in.
Images courtesy of Southland Express.