Australian domestic and family violence support charity, Friends With Dignity aims to provide school supplies to the thousands of families who face hardship as a result of domestic violence. Every day, domestic violence forces hundreds of people to flee their homes and leave everything behind – apart from the hope of a safer and brighter future.
Stress and isolation caused by Coronavirus restrictions has led to an increase in domestic violence across the country with requests for assistance at an all-time high. “Starting the new school year is hard enough for all children, but starting at a new school, not knowing anyone and not having the essentials that every other child has, can be all too much to handle,” said Friends With Dignity Community Engagements Co-ordinator, Catherine Woodbine.
“We are aiming to provide over 500 backpacks nationally to children who have faced the trauma of domestic violence, and had to leave their much-loved belongings behind,” said Ms Woodbine.
Friends With Dignity National Community Engagements Manager, Rosemary Macchiavelli said the need for these school supplies extends throughout the year with children living in refuges required to enrol at their nearest school but often having nothing to take to class due to their unstable living circumstances and lack of resources.
“Going to school can be frightening for so many children. You don’t want children to stand out for the wrong reasons and if they come to school without a backpack or any belongings, then they do stand out as the child with nothing,” said Ms Macchiavelli.
“Something as simple as a pencil case or a lunch box can go so far to supporting the most vulnerable members of our community, and help promote learning and stability for these children.
“We are looking for people to donate new or excellent condition backpacks, we ask that drink bottles, lunch boxes, colouring pencils, lead pencils, erasers, glue sticks and exercise books are new.”
Donations are being accepted at various approved drop-off locations in Newcastle, Perth, Brisbane and on the Gold Coast from the 28th of December, 2020 to the 14th of January, 2021.
A full list of donation drop-off locations can be found at: https://www.friendswithdignity.org.au/back-to-school-drive.