Mana’s story

A better person, a better parent

After being sexually abused as a child by her stepfather, Mana spent much of her childhood in foster care. Through our programmes, she has learnt to break the cycle of abuse, and become a calmer, better parent to her children.

Mana has three children and is working with Iosis to have her youngest child, aged six years, back living with her. She met her partner while working as a rigger in Pokeno, although it wasn’t until they were in a relationship that she realised he was a gang member.

She has worked with her social worker at Iosis for a few years now and has also completed several of our programmes, including our Family Resilience programme. “The programme was awesome! Like so many of the participants, I had never experienced anything like that before. John (the programme facilitator) really knows how to get people to open up. Some of the things we shared I had never spoken to anyone about before.”

Mana says it has made her realise the effect of her own upbringing and how it has shaped her. “I had felt really negative for most of my life but my work with Iosis has changed that,” she says. “It made me see my strengths and the positive things about myself. That has been really empowering.”

Making changes for the better

The process has not only helped Mana to feel better about herself, but to be a more patient and understanding parent. “I can see how these two things are related. I’ve personally calmed down a lot and learnt how to step away from situations that can lead to confrontation. Slowing down has been a big thing – by taking my time, I give myself the space to be less reactive.” She also doesn’t mind being on her own now. “Before I would feel I had to be around other people. Now I’ve learnt to enjoy my own company.”

Mana has also had to make other significant changes to help get her life on track. “I’ve had to let some people go who weren’t good for me to be around,” she explains. “I’ve also changed where I live and what I do with my time.”

For Mana, the focus right now is getting her son back and then settling into a new, safe home. “Rangi, my social worker, has been my rock during the past few years,” she says. “Every time the chips are down, I call her, and she’s there for me. After I’ve finished talking to her I am sweet – and I can get on with my day. I really don’t know what I would do without her.”

Mana has told several of her friends about Iosis and encouraged them to attend our programmes. “It is a really awesome organisation and I know that many of my friends would get so much out of it, so I really hope they’ll go.”

“My sessions with John opened up a Pandora’s Box. I’ve learnt so much about myself and it’s made me feel so much better about myself. There is a lot more to do and change but my life has changed for the better.”