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May 7, 2007 | by  | in Opinion |
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Pimp My Student: Extreme Welfare Makeovers

This week: Conrad the BSc with problems

You don’t have to go far in this city to find a poor hobo student in dire need of an Extreme Welfare Makeover. This week’s lucky student was a third year BSc, who despite three years of study was unaware of all the great advice and services the welfare team at VUWSA had to offer. Conrad had a poverty that ran deep. In his final year of study he had run out of overdraft and was just scraping by with his high rent and meagre Studylink living costs.

The makeover team took Conrad under their wing. Giving a much needed dose of grooming, including a warm shower, some mint new op shop clothes, and of course a good feed of free bread (it being a Wednesday and all).

But now it was time to go deeper. Conrad had some problems that he had found hard to address on his very limited expendable income. Three years of study had taken their toll, and Conrad had some rather expensive dental problems that needed attending. Also, despite several years in the country, Conrad’s social English was not perfect and it was something he would like to improve, but was unsure how. Also the stress and strains of his degree had given him painfully knotted neck muscles that could only be relieved by often expensive massage therapy treatments.

The VUWSA welfare team put their heads together and came up with a good affordable solution for Conrad.

The Wellington People’s Centre has been working since 1992 to provide affordable health services and free advocacy services. They believe that everyone should have access to services that meet their basic human needs – including students. For a membership fee of only $2.50 per week you can access their wide range of low cost or no cost health services. Your membership fee helps cover basic running costs and keep charges as low as possible. Becoming a member of the People’s Centre means you can access a wide range of low cost or free services. The Centre also focuses on free advocacy services and can give you unbiased advice of Student Allowance entitlements. On the welfare team’s wise advice Conrad invested in a membership. He was then able to make the most of the services offered. After the extreme makeover Conrad was not only looking good but feeling even better. He is now safe on the streets. If you want to find out more about The Wellington People’s Centre, you can talk to Heleyni or Jenna at VUWSA, or go straight to the website

If you or someone you know is in desperate need of a VUWSA Extreme Welfare Makeover, email

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