It's only Christmas when we share it

Australian children experiencing disadvantage need your help this Christmas

Christmas should be a special time for children, but for over 1.1m young Australians living in poverty1 it's just another time they go without. Another reminder of all the experiences, materials and support that they've missed out on this year.

While at Christmas time a child living in poverty may feel the effects of missing out on presents, the rest of the year the effects of poverty reach well beyond their home lives. Many disadvantaged children stat school already behind. Without access to early learning experiences and resources, children living in poverty may not have the opportunity to develop basic skills in reading or numeracy. And at school, not having the essential items they need can make a child feel like they don’t fit in or can’t keep up with what’s going on in class.

As each year passes, poverty widens the gap between these children and their classmates. Not being able to keep up at school diminishes young people’s self-belief and confidence.

Liam's poverty changed his life in a way he didn't understand

When mum and dad can't help, who do you ask?

"I didn't feel good at school anymore" - Liam, aged 8

Liam's poverty changed his life in a way he didn't understand

When Liam was in Year 5 his mother was diagnosed with cancer, marking the end of what had been a relatively uneventful childhood. Soon Liam's mother became so ill that she couldn’t work and things became tough at home. Then, when his dad left, their lives fell apart.

Without a regular income the family needed to move to a more affordable house. Over time there was less and less money and the family needed to move again and again, further and further away from Liam's school. Liam's mother did everything she could for him and his sister, but Liam's home life had completely changed.

The support Liam was used to at home was gone. At school he withdrew; he didn’t feel like he fit in anymore. He struggled in class and couldn’t keep up with his homework. He wondered if he’d always feel this alone.

“I used to love school and have great friends. Then Mum got sick and we had to move over and over again. I didn’t feel good at school anymore.” – Liam*, aged 8.

For children like Liam, support today will provide the opportunity to develop the skills they need to catch up with their peers, keep up at school, build confidence and take the first steps towards a better future, free from poverty.

Everyone knows that education has the power to break the cycle of disadvantage. It can change lives. That’s why The Smith Family provides educational tools and resources and extra learning programs to help disadvantaged children get the most out of their education.

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Children cannot choose their circumstances.

Today, one in six Australian children and young people are living in poverty.1 The financial disadvantage they experience at home often leads to disadvantage at school. They start behind, and often stay behind. As educational milestones are missed, they find themselves struggling to keep up, making these vulnerable children feel isolated and alone. And at Christmas, it hurts even more.

Steven, Julianna and Elizabeth are supported by The Smith Family

We support disadvantaged Australian children.

winter 2015

We support disadvantaged Australian children.

We can help Australia’s poorest children feel included this Christmas and throughout the year. As Australia’s largest national education-oriented charity, we help disadvantaged young Australians to succeed at school, so they can create better futures for themselves. Investing in the education of a disadvantaged child today has long-term benefits for them, their families and the communities they live in.

Working across Australia in 94 communities.

The Smith Family delivers our Learning for Life programs across 94 Australian communities, often out of the local school.

The communities have been identified as having higher concentrations of families living in economic disadvantage and are across all Australian states and territories.

This holiday you can help ensure a child in need isn’t excluded from the joys that so many of us take for granted – after all, this is what makes Christmas, Christmas.

smith-family-94-communities

It’s only Christmas when we share it. Please give children like Liam the support they need this Christmas and for the rest of the year.

1 Davidson P, Saunders P, Bradbury B, & Wong M (2018) Poverty in Australia, 2018. ACOSS/UNSW Poverty and Inequality Partnership Report, No. 2. Sydney: ACOSS.