Main image

Save Rhee's Home

Closed Cause page created in the Kiwi Kids category by Ruth Busch for "The Busch Barry Family"

  • $70,697.10 donated
  • 431 generous donors

Rhee is severely autistic. Dad had to leave job due to hearing loss & health. Family can't pay huge leaky home bill & cost to care for Rhee.

Main image

Disability Housing Family Support

"Hi my name is Rhee-Rhee. They say that I am severely autistic, but I only know I’m me. Mum says I’m the cleverest two year-old in a 10 year old’s body she knows. Sometimes people get uncomfortable when I want to play at the playground. Lucky for me, I have a trampoline, a cool swing, plus my special holes in the lawn where I make bubble-puddles with the garden hose. I love my home." (This is what her father, Richard, thinks Rheegan would tell us, if she had the words)

Our friends Devora and Richard are teachers who live in Auckland with their three beautiful children, including 10 year-old Rheegan. They cannot meet the expense their leaky home is burdening them with in addition to the high costs of raising and caring for Rhee, who is in the top few percent of New Zealand’s high-needs children.

They must shift the family out of their house for at least four months when it is being reclad to the tune of $260,000. While they may recover up to half that money through a government subsidy they will also have rental, moving and storage costs to pile on top of their already high mortgage. – not to mention what it will cost them to modify the rental to keep Rhee safe. All up, they expect to be out of pocket at least $160,000.

Finding a rental property will be a challenge because of Rheegan’s needs. In their own home they have high gates, safety-glass barricading and safety locks on all the windows. (As Rhee can now open these gates, in the future Devora and Richard will need to install keypads and elevate the gates.) Making modifications to a rental property will be both time-consuming and expensive – if they can find anyone to rent to them in the first place.

And just when they didn’t think things could get worse, Richard has had to leave his teaching job because of severe hearing impairment and health difficulties. “We’re at our wits end,” Devora says. “With neither of us working, we don’t know how we’re going to pay our bills.”

After Rhee was born, Devora intended to go back to teaching fulltime to help support the family. But because of Rhee’s needs, Devora must be available to give her care 24/7, including sleeping on the floor by Rhee’s safety bed. Rhee doesn’t sleep very much and, if she gets free, can roam the house, wanderings that have ended in near-death experiences for her.

Sadly, Rhee has no sense of danger. She also has severe Pica, which means she eats anything —stuffing from nappies or pillows, blankets or coins and buttons. Recently, she kicked a hole in the wall and ate Pink Batts. She constantly wads napkins or toilet paper in her mouth and can be seconds from choking to death or poisoning at any time. Devora and Richard spend $1000 a month replacing items Rhee has damaged due to her Pica and on consummables, such as her nappies.

They are very grateful for the carer assistance and specialist care provided by the government and Devora and Richard would never dream of putting Rhee in residential care (“You would have to pry her from our dying fingers,” Devora says). Yet they have had to give up nearly all aspects of their lives to cover the round-the-clock care needed to keep Rhee alive and flourishing.

As you can see, Devora and Richard need our help to make it through this incredibly tough time. If Rheegan were in residential care, it would cost New Zealand taxpayers around $250,000 a year. That’s a million dollars just in the next four years. Devora and Richard are committed to keeping her at home, as they have for the past 10 years. “I just want Rheegan to be happy and live the best life she can,” Devora says.

Page created by:

Ruth Busch


I am Rhee's grandmother. I have watched her bloom in these last 10 years despite her severe autism due to Devora and Richard's devotion and care for her. They have made their house a safe haven where she can play and live a happy life. Their ability to keep the house is now under threat. Please help!

All funds raised benefit:

The Busch Barry Family

Funds will be paid to a verified bank account of Devora Jennifer Elizabeth Busch on behalf of The Busch Barry Family.

“All the best - hope things work out”
“Hi Richard and Devora This message is more for Richard, Devora we only meet a couple of times many years ago. Richard, today you are in my thoughts, it took a while but I worked it out. I know if Joanne was still here she would have already been doing something for you and your family , she was a generous soul. She would have turned 60 this year, I am thinking today is 61 or 62 for you? Our donation is on memory of Joanne. may things go well with the reno's Lots of love Bronwyn and Vicki”
“Thanks for your input into our family over the years Richard. Chin up for this difficult time in your journey! We'll be praying it all goes as smoothly as possible.”
“we also have an autistic daughter, Rhee reminds me so much of her. I understand how your life with Rhee is, its hard work being parents of a special needs child, without the burden that you are facing. I wish you all the best and you are so deserving.”
“best of luck to you all, I sincerely hope you reach your target”
“Wishing you and your family all the best Richard and I will keep you all in my prayers and thoughts. Always remember happy times with you, Aunty Joy , Uncle Ray and family. Bless you and your family. Love from”
“hope this helps a bit”
“Devora and Richard I had no idea you were facing these challenges and I am so overwhelmed with how you are handling things. We have been overseas for over 6 months so have just learnt about this and I spoke to megan in Carmel's office. They are great friends of mine. Rheegan is gorgeous and so fortunate to have you as parents(as are her siblings) Nothing more than she deserves but unfortunately life isn't always so good to children. Kia kaha and lots of love Lynne and partner Mike”
“Hope the repairs go as planned. Take care and chin up.”
“Your doing such an amazing job. All I see is such a huge amount of love. All the very best.”
  • $70,697.10 donated
  • 431 generous donors

$70,697 donated



This cause page was created on 16 Mar 2016 and closed at 23:59 NZST (UTC +12:00) on 01 Feb 2017.

Donor Confidence Key  

  • Givealittle moderated
  • Donor validated
  • New Zealand registered charity
  • Eligible for tax credit

Concerned? Report this page

The link has been copied


Donor Confidence Key

Givealittle moderation

Givealittle values the importance of an informed decision when making a donation. We check to make sure that adequate information is provided to donors and that pages comply with our terms and conditions. Pages are not browseable nor searchable until moderated and donor validated. For more information, check out this support article.

Donor validation

A page becomes donor validated when it receives donations from at least three different sources. Pages are not browseable nor searchable until moderated and donor validated. For more information, check out this support article.

New Zealand registered charity

Is registered with the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA), Charity Services (formerly Charities Commission) as a charity.

Tax credit eligibility

Has been granted 'donee status' by Inland Revenue (IRD). Donors to a page with tax credit eligibility may be able to apply for a tax credit.