Pam Cresswell is a rock in her community. A refugee from Zimbabwe, she had run a hugely successful school for special needs children excluded from the regular school system, before being driven off her land by rebels and fleeing to New Zealand. She arrived with nothing, but has given everything – dedicating her life to supporting and educating special needs kids at Freyberg High School - Craig Centre for Special Needs in Palmerston North.
Despite being born with a heart defect that often leaves her drained of energy, Pam tirelessly works to put these children first, and gives her life to them. Her evenings are spent making sure the pupils are included in all school activities and sports, and she even organises movie days during the holidays and weekends to make sure the students have an opportunity to socialise outside of school. She organises transport, rings all the parents and puts everyone else first.
She has opened her home to these students as well – taking in one of her pupils and treating her like her own daughter. The families she helps are incredibly grateful, and she is nothing but understanding and compassionate to the challenges they face raising children with special needs.
One of her former students, Anaru, had this to say about Pam:
“She’s amazing. She is my best friend. She has a good personality and shows me a lot of respect and is trustworthy. We talk when things go wrong in my life, I share my dramas and things I’m upset about and she helps me move on.
I honestly would not have coped if it hadn’t been for Pam’s support over the last 10 years, even my mum calls her a ROCK and asks what we would do without her.”
Not only does she want to help, she loves it. It’s her passion, and deserves our recognition.
We wanted to give Pam $10,000 towards renovating her kitchen or towards doing something else for herself. In true Pam Cresswell fashion; she instantly wanted to give the money away to help a family of one of her former students, Ghana Maya Neupane, who suffers from muscular dystrophy – as they don’t have the means to purchase a specially modified car to take Ghana out in.
Pam has a Givealittle page set up to collect money for this van. If she collects enough money that way, she’ll keep our $10,000 and do something for herself for once – we think she deserves it.
You can help the Neupane family by donating on the Givealittle page.