“For Jess, the start of term is a painful reminder that she faces another year of missing out because she is poor."

Jess' mum Maria* is a single parent, she always struggled but got by. But then everything changed for Jess' family when Maria fell seriously ill and was unable to work.

Maria was barely scraping together enough money for food and rent – there was now very little money left for Jess' school supplies like uniforms, excursions or new books.

Today, one in six Australian children and young people are growing up in poverty1. That’s more than 1.1 million Australian children falling into the cycle of poverty where even the essentials are hard to come by.

jess and her mum maria back to school

Jess has learnt she’s not like the other kids at her school.

At just 9 years old, Jess is already three years behind in her reading, and struggling with writing and maths.

sponsor a child like jess to stop them falling behind in their learning

Jess is 9 years old and three years behind.

At just 9 years old, Jess is already three years behind in her reading, and struggling with writing and maths.

Going without extends far beyond what’s in her children’s school bags. For years, it’s been a struggle each day even getting Jess to school. Jess puts off leaving the house until the last possible moment. She doesn’t want to be at school at all. It just reminds her that she looks and feels different to her class mates – a reminder that the lives in poverty.

When Jess fell further and further behind in her learning she decided the best approach was to say less: to be quiet, not answer. To just say nothing. Maria knows that without help Jess will just fall further behind.

Going to school shouldn’t feel like this. Be the person to help a child like Jess have a better year, today.

Poverty can have a huge and potentially lifelong impact on a child’s life.

From an early age disadvantaged children don’t get the same access to books, learning materials and experiences as their more advantaged peers.

When they start school, many children from disadvantaged families are behind in basic reading and numeracy skills2. They fall further and further behind their peers. Without early intervention, children like Jess can fall so far behind it’s almost impossible to catch up.

Disadvantaged students are on average 2 to 3 years behind in reading and maths by the time they are 15 years old.

Are you the one that can help children like Jess?

There are 1,721 children just like Jess who need vital support as they go back to school. With your help we can ensure that more children like Jess receive the out–of–school learning support they need to catch up, keep up and thrive at school.

sponsoring a child like jess helps them to catch up in class and fit in at school

Donate today to give a child like Jess support to catch up at school.

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* Maria and Jess' name, location and associated images have been changed to protect their identity.

1 Poverty in Australia, 2018, ACOSS / UNSW Report.

Thomson et al, 2011, Challenges for Australian Education: Results from PISA 2009.