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A special message from the students you helped

For thousands of disadvantaged Australian children, it’s been a year of growth and discovery. They’ve caught up at school and achieved more than they ever thought possible. They’ve even started to dream of what they could do in the future.

It’s been an amazing year for so many of these children. And it’s all because of you.

Watch their message for you now.

Sponsorship helped Aaron realise his dream

Seeing her boys being bullied for not fitting in was hard for Belinda, single mum to Aaron and Kyle. She knew firsthand how deep those scars ran. Yet Belinda couldn’t afford Aaron and Kyle’s school essentials, until they were matched with Smith Family sponsors.

“I didn’t have uniforms ... The bullying that I endured at school, it did follow me into adulthood. It sucked away my self-esteem. My kids are more fortunate because they did get the sponsorship. This meant they could get their school bags, school uniforms, shoes and socks,” said Belinda. 

Belinda, with her boys, Aaron and Kyle

“If they didn't have sponsorship my sons would have been the odd ones out, because I could not afford to buy those essential things for school.”

Before sponsorship, Aaron felt nervous at school. Now he feels confident and dreams of helping others when he grows up. That is the power of your support. It not only helps disadvantaged children and families, but also has a ripple effect that creates stronger communities.

“[Having a sponsor] made me feel happy that I was just like everyone else, with the proper school uniform,” said Aaron.

“I want to become a business developer or something … I'd love to make jewellery, clothes, stuff like that. And help the homeless. I'd like to give clothes to them so they can just have clothes and not be getting sick or cold from not wearing the right clothing.”

I only went as far as Year 10 … That's why now I instill in my kids how important their education is. I don't want them to sit back and go, ‘I'm nothing. I'm not smart enough because I haven't had this or that.
Belinda, Aaron's mum


Belinda’s eldest son Kyle has behavioural disorders and has always had difficulties with his education. The family struggles financially because Belinda has to be there for Kyle, so she can’t work. Despite her efforts to support Kyle’s education, Belinda can’t do it alone.

“My eldest son has ADHD and ODD (Oppositional Defiant Disorder) and a few other things that are associated with it, so we did have a lot of education issues. Kyle was diagnosed probably at three years of age … we went to psychologists, psychiatrists, pediatricians. He was held back for a year,” said Belinda.

“His buddy's name was Tommy. The patience that Tommy had with Kyle was fantastic. I've got no objections to sitting and reading with Kyle or Aaron, but they don't want me to do it. It's just easier to relate to someone your own age,” said Belinda.

Your donations help children like Kyle to improve their learning skills, so they can stay in school longer. Not only is Kyle more engaged in his education as a result, but the boost to his self-esteem has improved his behaviour as well.

When he first started he would stumble when he was reading. [Now] he’s absolutely loving high school.
Belinda, Kyle's mum

Kyle is proud now he can read

Kyle’s challenges affected his ability to learn and he fell behind, especially with his reading. We know from studies that an effective way to support students who have reading difficulties is for the help to come from others near their own age. So, Kyle’s Learning for Life Coordinator got him involved in our program student 2 student.

Student2student pairs students who are up to two years behind in their reading with trained student buddies who read with them over the phone to improve the younger student’s reading skills.

Sponsorship is helping Chenoa to shine at school

Chenoa loves having a sponsor. It’s not just because before sponsorship she couldn’t go on school excursions. Or because she only had one uniform that her mum, Karmilya, had to wash every night.

For 11 year old Chenoa, the best part of having a sponsor is knowing that someone else is backing her. Getting letters from her sponsor is a big deal. She can’t wait to write back and share her latest achievements at school.

And the extra encouragement has given Chenoa the courage to step up at Learning Club after school. You’ll be thrilled to hear how she’s now helping younger students.

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