16th July 2016

Featured Volunteer – Tracey Aitken

“I am a teacher and counsellor by profession and calling. I have been married to for almost 30 years and we have 2 children. Becoming a young mother has given me insight and empathy for young pregnant women. I stopped teaching when my husband and I started our business. That gave me the time to get involved in the community.”

I was introduced to the Retreat Maternity and Obstetrics Unit and soon started an educational programme that is still on going. Being made aware of the needs of the women who come to the MOU to have their babies, we started collecting and making items for the mothers and babies.

The Zoe Project started in 1998 when I counselled a young pregnant girl who wanted an abortion. She was in a very abusive relationship and had no support from family. I helped her to be placed in a safe house. With further support and counselling she decided to have the baby adopted. As we formed a close relationship, she asked me to name the baby.

On the way to the hospital to support her during labour and birth I saw a billboard with LIFE written on it. After the birth of her little girl she said that she wanted to call her Zoe. Only a week or so later I realised that the word Zoe means LIFE. I am still in contact with Zoe’s mom. I have been closely involved in the day to day running of the project. With a core group of 8 volunteers we provide services to more than 300 women per month.

My years of experience in counselling in various situations give me an in depth understanding into the dynamics and needs of the community. Building lasting relationships is very important to me. The Zoë Project has been receiving donations from many organisations on a regular basis for 18 years.

Accountability, respect and building strong relationships are the core values of The Zoe Project and is the foundation from where we go from strength to strength. We have very good relationships with the staff and management at the Retreat MOU, Hanover Park MOU and other organisations that we work with.


16th July 2016