In January 2023, WiseTech Global partnered with Ripen to collect and donate over 300 gifts and toys for women and children being supported in domestic violence refuges. Operated by St Vincent de Paul Society (Vinnies), there are 11 refuges in NSW for women and children who have experienced domestic violence and homelessness.

Domestic violence is a prevalent issue that affects millions of women and children globally. Shockingly, in Australia alone, on average one woman is killed every nine days due to domestic violence. The effects on women and children are devastating, they often have to flee their homes with nothing but the clothes on their backs.

A toy drive with a difference

This toy drive was a little different from most gift and toy drives, which are typically done in the lead-up to Christmas.

“Lots of gifts and toys are given during the holidays that are thoughtful, but not always needed by families who can afford to give to others less fortunate. So I had this idea for people to donate to families in need after Christmas, rather than before.” Matt Hughes, CEO at Ripen.

For the greatest impact, the gifts collected were carefully selected to ensure they were suitable and needed by families in domestic violence refuges. They went directly to women and children who often arrive at refuges with nothing.

The impact of the toy drive was recognized by Ripen CEO, Matt Hughes, who travelled across the State of New South Wales in Australia, covering a distance of 214 km to collect the donations and thanking those involved.

"Today was about two things, firstly to promote the incredible work that Vinnies does to help women and children that are facing tough times due to domestic violence. Secondly about saying a huge thank you to the organizations and community partners who through their incredible generosity, have donated so many gifts and toys for families!" Matt said.

WiseTech Global's commitment to making a difference

WiseTech Global recognizes the importance of giving back to the community and supporting those in need, particularly women and children experiencing domestic violence.

Our Organizational Capability Manager, Minelle Gholami, expressed her gratitude for being involved in the toy drive through their partnership with Ripen.

"We're really blessed to have the opportunity to help others in need. WiseTech Global recognizes that children and families who have experienced trauma require extra support, and that's why our involvement in the toy drive was seen as a priority.” Minelle Gholami, WiseTech Global

Vinnies provides critical support to families impacted by domestic violence

In the past year alone, St Vincent de Paul Society NSW has supported 2,050 women and children experiencing domestic and family violence. They provide specialist services and accommodation to help victims of domestic violence within a framework that supports women’s choices. They provide long-term support and friendship at a vulnerable time, helping the families in their care to build new lives.

Sandra Auchterlonie, a Family Engagement Worker at Vinnies, told us the toy drive has provided much-needed support and relief for these families during their time of crisis:

“A difficult thing for our families is they arrive with virtually nothing, just what they can carry, and a child's favourite toy or their favourite activities, unfortunately doesn't make the cut when you're leaving in such an emergency situation." Sandra Auchterlonie, Vinnies NSW

Accommodation Team Leaders at Vinnies, Marian Centre and Marie Crotty, expressed their gratitude by saying that without the support of Ripen and their donors including WiseTech, Vinnies would not be able to provide the service for the families.

This is only the beginning

This year’s toy drive is part of a bigger vision for Ripen to support the crucial services provided by Vinnies. Ripen, with the support of WiseTech Global, is now embarking on its second Domestic Violence refuge upgrade with Vinnies, to give survivors of domestic violence the facilities and equipment they need to thrive.

In partnership with Vinnies, the largest Domestic Violence refuge in New South Wales will receive a vital upgrade starting in March 2023.

A heartfelt thank you!

The toy drive was a heart-warming initiative that has made a significant impact on the lives of women and children experiencing domestic violence in NSW, Australia. The collective effort of all the organisations and community partners who participated in the toy drive is commendable, and it demonstrates the power of community and the positive impact we can have when we work together towards a common goal.

And a final word from Matt at Ripen, “On behalf of the women and children who receive the gifts and toys, we extend our sincere appreciation and gratitude to WiseTech Global and their people who contributed to this worthy cause.”