How You Can Build a Better Future for Disadvantaged Aussie Kids

Looking for a way to give back and make a difference? Sponsoring a disadvantaged student through school can help break the cycle of poverty and set them up for a better future.

For most kids, going to school with the books, uniforms and supplies they need - not to mention being able to participate in excursions and camps - is pretty much a given. Plus fitting in, which is super important to most (if not all) of us, is so much harder when you don’t have the basics everyone else has, or the opportunity to join in on the extra activities most kids take for granted.

For the 638,000 Australian children who are at risk of living a lifetime of poverty because of their economic circumstances, this is their everyday experience – not having the equipment to do well, and feeling different from everyone else. Putting it bluntly, being poor hurts, and leaves you feeling isolated and alone. It also makes it hard to do well at school, which can easily translate to a lifetime spent in the cycle of poverty.

Jenny’s* story

Jenny’s story paints a pretty vivid picture. At just eight years of age, her school experience is already very different from the average Aussie student. Her mother is too ill to work, and the money they do have doesn’t go far enough.

She wears an old uniform, her shoes are second hand, and coming up with the money for a school camp or extra excursions is impossible. Because of her mum’s illness, Jenny* and her sister do most of the household chores – this means even play dates can be out of the question.

As well as missing out on the activities that many childhood friendships are built on, means Jenny misses out on the things the other students are doing that supports their education - the special learning experiences these trips and activities create.

Extras aside, Jenny's family have no money for school basics like books, and in her own words, says she “feels dumb because [I] can’t read very good.” Because her mum didn’t finish school, Jenny doesn’t get the time or help she needs to do her homework.

This is where you can come in

“Supporting a disadvantaged child’s education is one of the most effective ways to help them break the cycle of intergenerational disadvantage and improve their future employment, income, health and welfare prospects,” says Dr Lisa O’Brien, The Smith Family’s CEO.

Growing up disadvantaged, places them at risk of disengaging from school with devastating long-term consequences. Even away from the school building, financial stress creates extra demands on parents, which means disadvantaged students can also go without adequate support or the help they need with their school work after hours.

Dr O’Brien says completing Year 12, or its equivalent, increases the likelihood that young people will move into further study or employment, and create a better future for themselves. In short, investing in the education of disadvantaged children provides long-term positive benefits – even for their families for generations to come.

And what would your donation actually provide?

Sponsoring a child through The Smith Family gives them the chance to go to school with tools, with support and with the essentials they need to fit in, get an education, and be their best. For $48 per month – less than $1.60 per day, you can ensure your sponsored child receives:

• Financial support to pay for school essentials like a school uniform, shoes, textbooks and excursions.
• Guidance and support from a Learning for Life Coordinator who works with the family and understands the specific needs of a child.
• Access to out-of-school educational opportunities. These can include The Smith family’s learning and mentoring programs.

If you’re looking for a way to make a fellow Aussie’s life better – for now and the future, find out more about sponsoring a child or how past sponsors have helped their sponsored child succeed through The Smith Family.

Find out more and donate now at

Jenny’s name, location and associated images have been changed to protect her identity.

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