BACK­PACKS BRING DIG­NITY TO SCHOOLKIDS

The Gold Coast Bulletin - - NEWS -

GOLD Coast char­ity Friends With Dig­nity is urg­ing Aus­tralians to dig deep as its an­nual Back to School Drive nears its end.

The char­ity, which sup­ports women and fam­i­lies suf­fer­ing from do­mes­tic vi­o­lence, is col­lect­ing school sup­plies for chil­dren in refuge.

Friends With Dig­nity founder Manuela Whit­ford said many did not re­alise how dif­fi­cult this time of year could be for fam­i­lies.

“When you’re go­ing through cri­sis it’s the last thing on your mind but it’s an ab­so­lute ne­ces­sity,” she said.

“They try and nor­malise their lives as much as pos­si­ble by get­ting the kids into schools straight away where they’re re­lo­cated. If they don’t have the right equip­ment they stand out.”

The sup­plies will be sorted into “back-toschool packs” for the thou­sands of chil­dren liv­ing in refuges around Aus­tralia, many of whom strug­gle to af­ford them on their own.

Co-direc­tor and chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer Ju­lia McKenna said they hoped to ease fam­i­lies’ bur­dens.

“Leav­ing be­hind your home, school, friends and fam­ily to es­cape the rav­ages of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence dras­ti­cally af­fects the con­fi­dence of young peo­ple,” she said.

“We are aim­ing to pro­vide over 500 back­packs to chil­dren who have faced the trauma of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence, and have had to leave their much loved be­long­ings be­hind.”

One in five chil­dren wit­ness and/or ex­pe­ri­ence vi­o­lence at home. Dona­tions are be­ing col­lected un­til to­mor­row.

Go to friendswith­dig­nity.org.au

Pic­ture: GLENN HAMP­SON

Friends With Dig­nity vol­un­teer Janelle Tzouma­nis and Re­nee Polden from sup­porter Mort­gage Choice with some of the back-to-school packs be­ing col­lected for fam­i­lies in need.

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