Charity Offers Disaster Relief for Kids
28 January 2014 at 8:45 am
A children’s Not for Profit has launched an “ambitious” pilot that aims to sponsor Victorian children affected by natural disasters.
Children’s charity Variety Victoria has created VICKIDS, which will support children living in regional Victoria who are struggling with the upheaval after natural disasters.
The idea behind the pilot was inspired by Variety’s educational scholarship in the name of veteran newsreader Brian Naylor and his wife, Moiree, who lost their lives in the Black Saturday bushfires.
Variety Victoria Chief Executive Officer Holly Reid said when the charity was reviewing the three-year Naylor scholarship it became apparent that there was still a need for support.
"We were hearing, both anecdotally and through mounting academic research, that people were still struggling with their daily lives as a result of the bushfires," she said.
"When disaster strikes we often think of the immediate needs of the communities involved and do everything we can to assist.
"The long-term effects of a natural disaster on families, particularly children, are often overlooked."
|Chum Creek Primary School will be one of the schools participating in the VICKIDS pilot program. Pictured is the school's new playground after the Black Saturday bushfires rebuilt by Variety Victoria.|
|BEFORE: Chum Creek Primary School's playground damaged by the bushfires.|
Under the VICKIDS pilot program, 50 children have been selected from Rochester Primary School, Echuca Specialist School, Swan Hill Specialist School, Toolangi Primary School, Yea Primary school and Chum Creek Primary School. All the children have been affected by floods, drought and bushfires.
They were nominated by their school principals or community-based organisations that have previously worked with the child. Each child, aged up to 18, will be eligible for about $1200 a year.
Reid said research commissioned by Variety, and carried out by Berry Street, showed that families from the 2009 Black Saturday and 2011 floods were still facing many difficulties.
"We were hearing of children dealing with anxieties and depression as well as missing out on essential items they needed for school because money was tight," she said.
Variety has had an ongoing involvement with families and community groups affected by the Black Saturday bushfires.
Reid said when Black Saturday hit, Variety was able to provide immediate and ongoing assistance to families in the area and VICKIDS was a natural extension of that commitment.
"After the devastating bushfires of 2009 we made a promise to the children of regional Victoria," she said.
"It is an ambitious program, but we are hoping to support children across Victoria, experiencing natural disasters."
"It is a chance for everyone to help level the playing field."
Variety said that while the pilot had been partly funded by the Gloria Jean's Cappuccino for a Cause Foundation, which is contributing $23,000, its ongoing success will depend on sponsorship.
Individuals, schools, families, workplaces, corporates, foundations and trusts will be able to donate via a one off donation or via monthly debits to sponsor a child/children.
Donors will be provided with regular program updates of the pilot’s success. Each sponsorship will be reviewed annually.
The cost of a sponsorship is $45 a month or $540 a year.