To equip young people to fulfil their potential through innovative mentoring and education, developing influential leaders who will contribute positively towards their communities.
A big vision
Emeline Afeaki-Mafile’o was only 25 when she set up Affirming Women but she knew she wanted to run her own mentoring and educational programmes in South Auckland schools to develop leadership skills but also to make a difference. Based on the Pacific model Tupu’anga (to grow from your roots), mentors work with young people across all school levels addressing social and educational needs such as literacy, numeracy and transitioning from school to work.
A growing impact
What started out in a 2-bedroom unit in Papatoetoe in 2001 has now turned into a business that has helped thousands of young people. The company changed names from Affirming Works to AW and is now run by Emeline and her husband Alipate.
Alipate runs the Tupu’anga Coffee business in Tonga and is responsible for sustainable coffee production and the Community Cafes in New Zealand while Emeline looks after the mentoring side of the business. They are a formidable team and base their organisation on traditional strong family values of love and respect, helping others, and working in collaboration with the community.
Emeline, a trained social worker was the writer for the Tongan Family Violence Conceptual Framework and Training manual for Family Violence Practitioners; Fofola e fala kae talanoa e kainga. She was a member of the Pacific Advisory Group (PAG) for the Ministry of Social Development for 7 years before resigning.
It’s Emeline’s initiative, drive and huge contribution to the Pasifika community and Pasifika that has seen her win one of the most prestigious New Zealand prizes for women – the Women of Influence Award (for community service and social enterprise). She was also awarded the Sir Peter Blake Emerging Leader Award for 2006.