Who Called it “Free Education?”

Comments from families who ask our help “not being able to afford books and school clothes results in many children being picked on at school, as well as not having all their books, makes it very hard for them to study, “the high cost of books is limiting the ability of many children to achieve a high level of academic progress”.

During the months of December and January, families walk in to our Once with a book list for their children of “mind boggling” totals.

We have had some generous benefactors who have attended to this section of our work but it is a trickle facing a river, facing a raging torrent, facing an ocean.

In 2013, the average parallel contribution at public schools was $558 per student, the highest contribution in Australia.

Many families would scoff at this figure, as they add: School uniforms – Stationary – School text books – Excursions -Camps – Computers and Voluntary Fees.

A recent survey found that 39% of families kept children at home from school due to inability to pay costs associated with excursions, sports days, school camps, uniforms and equipment, lack of transport and food insecurity.

At the start of the current year Make a Difference decided to assist students at secondary school with text books for English and also English as an additional language. The demand for English books totalled of $93.89, and the English books, urgently needed for students from another culture, and totalled $123.79. Needless to say, we find it impossible to keep up the demand.

Government support?

The school kids Bonus still exists although the final instalment will be paid on in July 2016.

Each year families and students will receive up to –

$422 for each child in Primary school

$842 for each child – secondary school And now??

Other useful links are:

State School Relief Committee can assist with clothing and footwear. https://www.ssr.net.au/

Low cost computers – Green PC: http://www.greenpc.com.au/

20th Man back to school program – http://20thman.com.au/what-we-do/back-to-school-program/

No interest loan scheme (NILS) – http://goodshepherdmicro nance.org.au/services/no-interest- loan-scheme-nils

Someone famous said – “When we invest wisely in children, the next generation will pay back through a lifetime of productivity and responsible citizenship”.

At Make a Difference, we make a difference in the lives of these children.