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“If only you could see some of the faces on these children when they have new school uniforms, new drink bottles, new shoes,” says Sally Murn, Aboriginal Education Specialist at Women’s Safety Services SA.

“It makes such a difference. It’s huge for them.”

The first day at a new school is a milestone moment, particularly for some of the young Aboriginal children Sally works with. Many of these children, along with their mothers, have left everything they owned behind after fleeing domestic violence. Their most immediate needs, Sally says, are housing, food and clothes.

Women’s Safety Services SA (WSSSA) supports women and their children who are experiencing domestic and family violence. The organisation helps people find safety and support during and after experiencing abuse.

The Wyatt Trust’s partnership with WSSSA comprises $5000 in annual funding that primarily provides school lunches and uniforms.

“We’d found a previous issue of kids not going to school because they didn’t have lunch,” Sally explains.

“So, we set up a lunch program that I do with school kids. We buy fresh ingredients and three nights a week they come over and make their lunch and get ready for school the next day.”

“The other part of the funding is used for school uniforms and other things to do with going to school,” Sally says, which occasionally includes items such as school shoes, glasses, a laptop, excursion fees or even a sleeping bag for a school camp.

“These programs help to break down the barriers that sometimes prevent Aboriginal kids from engaging in mainstream school,” Sally says.

“The lunch program supports capability and resilience and the transition to a new school is smoother and more dignified when they arrive in a brand-new uniform and new shoes.”

“Wyatt has been really fantastic to work with,” Sally continues. “You know you can ring up and say, ‘What do you think if we did this?’”

“It might not be a huge amount of money, but it makes a huge difference.”

Learn more about the work of Women’s Safety Services SA