Many Queensland children will walk through the school gates on the first day of the 2019 school year already behind their classmates because they lack the basic stationery items, shoes or uniform.
Online charity GIVIT believes education is the key for a child to break free of the destructive cycle of poverty. Through its Back to School appeal, GIVIT aims to provide essential items to ensure impoverished children have the opportunities to thrive.
Students without exercise books, pencils or the often financially crippling electronic devices such as laptops and iPads stand out from their classmates. This leads to feelings of exclusion or worse - sets them up as a target for bullying.
GIVIT Founder and Director Juliette Wright said the Back to School appeal helps children, regardless of their family’s financial situation, to return to class feeling confident.
“Poverty affects every aspect of a child’s life, particularly their education," Mrs Wright said.
"Kids who go to school hungry with their shoes falling apart and without a jumper in winter, feel they don’t fit in. GIVIT wants all Queensland kids to have the self-confidence to take on whatever lies ahead for them in the classroom in 2019.’’
Children living in poverty endure unequitable material hardships, have little in the way of educational toys or books, and miss out on many of the experiences that other kids take for granted, such as excursions, participating in sporting activities, or learning a musical instrument.
GIVIT’s vision is to match generosity with genuine need. Through the online giving portal at givit.org.au, 1,464 registered Queensland charities and community groups request vital items for their clients. These requests are then matched to GIVIT’s network of generous donors. At the start of every school year, the organisation notices a sharp rise in requests from families struggling with cost of living expenses.
Sadly the December-January period is also not so “festive’’ for many Queenslanders, with police reporting a surge in domestic violence. Children may find themselves starting the new year at an unfamiliar school while their carer faces the often impossible task of providing a complete change of uniform and the necessary book packs.
GIVIT donors are currently helping a single mum living on the Newstart Allowance in regional Queensland who can’t afford the basics to get her four children back to school. She has only six exercise books and a handful of uniform items that have been passed down - now beyond repair. The desperate mum has no way to provide the required black leather school shoes and sporting footwear.
Another family with nine children who receive minimal fortnightly income because of their residency status are in severe financial distress. To add to their hardship, the mother has recently been diagnosed with bowel cancer. GIVIT has been able to cover the children’s education costs and provide a large washing machine to improve the family’s quality of life.
Visit givit.org.au to help provide a child with essential school needs, or to register as a charity, school or community group supporting vulnerable people.