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
Office 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.
The schoolkids Bonus still exists although the final instalment will be paid on in
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.
Low cost computers – Green PC: http://www.greenpc.com.au/
20th Man back to school program -
No interest loan scheme (NILS) - http://goodshepherdmicrofinance.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.
In the beautiful production “The Lion King” characters Timon and Pumbaa sing to us “Hakuna Mataha”
This is similar to the English phrase “no problems”.
We believe that we there are “no problems” at Make A Difference, as we operate with staff and volunteers, to assist hundreds of vulnerable and marginalised Australians.
Continued uncertainty over the Federals Government’s funding cuts, is impacting on community organisations across the country. This is frustrating many organisations across
the country, and putting at risk services that support tens of thousands of Australians.
These $1 Billion national funding cuts to community services are devastating, to the critical support provided to Australia’s most vulnerable people and communities.
Supports, including emergency relief, community mental health, legal advice, and prevention and early intervention have all been hit by funding cuts.
The development of policy and reforms to address the pressing needs of people facing poverty and equality and to advocate for them have also been cut.
This sector contributes 5% to national GDP and employs more than 8% of Australia’s work force.
Funding Cuts Include:
- $500M over 5 years for Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islanders Community Services
- $270M over 4 years for Social Services and a freeze on indexation of sector funding
- $15M in cuts to legal aid & Community Legal Centres
- Foreshadowed cuts of $197m over 3 years from Health
At “Make A Difference” we can still say
With support from our volunteers, local government and the world of philanthropy we will continue to
Make A Difference!
We are pleased to welcome Financial Counsellor Margarete to our team, and she will be available to work with families regarding their financial concerns.
Financial Counsellors can assist people experiencing financial difficulty by identifying, presenting and clarifying options for money problems and by providing information and advice about:
- credit and debit related matters
- the pros and cons of bankruptcy
- working out a realistic plan for debt
- negotiating with creditors on your behalf
- preparing a budget plan
- suggesting ways to improve your financial situation
As of March 2015 our Financial Counsellor Margarete is available to work with people who are having difficulties in the complicated world of financial management.
Please call our office on 95511799 Monday – Thursday 9 – 3
All Families matter
Thousands of families in crisis visit our organisation each year. Their situation can be homelessness, redundancy, financial stress, education expenses, or poverty. Our social work staff spend, time with each of these families, and we endeavour to formulate a plan of assistance.
Our help can mean that a family moves in to our emergency accommodation for a short period of time, while we endeavour to link them to the public housing system.
Financial stress means that we work with the “hardship program” at various utility companies to avoid disconnection.
Those living on Social Security payments can be termed “living in poverty”.
The poverty line is measured at 50% of median household income (half of the “middle” income for all households).
This equates to a very austere living standard – a disposable income of less than $413.16 per week for a single adult.
- the poverty line for a single adult was $413.16, for a couple with 2 children it was $860.68
- More than 600,000 children – 17.7% of all children in Australia – were living below the poverty line in 2012, a report released by the Australian Council of Social Service has found.
- Just over one third of the children were in sole parent households.
- Nearly 14% of the population – 2.55 million people - were below the poverty line, after taking account of their housing costs, according to the report, which showed poverty was growing.
- Four out of ten people relying on social security payments were below the line. While 61% of people below it relied on social security as their main income, 31% relied on wages as their main income.
- The findings, dating from late in the Labor government, draw on new data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics for 2011-12 and previous years. They come as the Abbot government battles to get budget changes in welfare through parliament, and are likely to increase the strong political resistance to measures that have been widely criticised as harsh.