Organiser Sharna Matapuku says the ‘Royal Kids holiday programme’ is primarily designed to assist parents needing child care during the school holidays. And she says it fills in a gap in the holiday programmes so far offered on Rarotonga.
“This is no ordinary ‘child care’ service because it comes with much more,” says Matapuku.
The programme is all set to kick off nice and early on Monday April 18 at the Aotearoa Centre in Tupapa and Matapuku says her team has planned to open the doors to the children as early as 7.30am to cater for those parents needing to start work at 8am. The service will stay open till around 5.30pm to help those parents who don’t finish work until 5pm.
Around 120 kids attended the last programme held in 2014, organisers are anticipating a similar amount this year.
The programme will be held throughout the two-week holiday from Monday to Friday. While one of the major purposes of the programme is to help parents during this time, it’s just as important to give the children something to do, Matapuku says.
“The goal is to provide a secure, safe and fun environment which is jam-packed with both indoor and outdoor activities, and we are thankful to have key supporters in the community backing us 100 per cent.
“We have been blessed to have organisations and businesses such as Prime Foods, Avarua Bakery, the Laurie Group, Ngatangiia Wave Church, Avarua AOG Church, family and friends to support us in previous programmes, as it was only through their generosity that Royal Kids has been a success.”
She says she first saw the need within the community for the holiday programme concept in 2007, and although there were similar groups offering similar programmes, there were always those kids who missed out due to either the travel distance involved or more often, the cost of attending.
“Since the beginning the Royal Kids team have established a different approach to how their programme is run. To this day the venture has based its survival and success purely on sponsorship and donations.
“We know that times are hard for most parents, and money is usually one of the main reasons kids do not attend programmes like this. So we decided that if we asked for a donation whether it be monetary, food or equipment, that would be just as valuable as setting a ‘per child rate’,” says Matapuku.
“Then it would be our job as organisers to go back to our community, local businesses, family and friends to seek the remaining assistance we need.”
Matapuku says a programme like this, takes a lot of faith, and although at times your faith is stretched to the max, you need to stay focused and keep believing in your programme or it won’t work.
“We may not always know whether our programme is going to be successful or not, but the commitment of the team is unconditional and just their spirit and enthusiasm alone, gives everyone hope.”
“At the end of the day it’s all about the kids, it’s about giving them 200 per cent of our time and attention, and letting the pieces fall into place,” says Matapuku.
“Which they always do!”
Adding to the excitement of the school holiday programmes, Royal Kids will be rolling out two more initiatives that is sure to keep the Kids of the Cook Islands excited and busy for the rest of the year.
So with that mystery remaining under wraps, if you are in need of some awesome ‘childcare’ or just need a couple of hours break throughout your long day and need somewhere fun for your children this school holiday, then call Sharna and her team on 52388 or email:
or look them up on their facebook page.