The Back to School (BTS) Program ran for its first iteration of 2022, following schools heavily impacted by the flooding disasters of February and March, 2022.
NRCF has partnered with FRRR on the BTS Program since 2006 and completed this year’s project with delivery partner organisation Social Futures.
BTS improves financial security and reduces poverty or financial stress for children impacted by disaster, by providing vouchers to assist with getting “back to school” to their care giver.
These vouchers help buy essential school supplies and help to ease the financial burden of getting kids back to school.
The program also increases engagement in learning and improves education outcomes.
Grandparents as primary carers for school aged children (Grandcarers) were selected as the primary focus. Year after year, there continues to be resounding evidence directly from communities through this program, that the need for grandcarer support is on the rise. This year, more than ever, with thousands of families across the region losing everything in the flooding disaster, the program was welcomed by the school communities.
Grandcarer families were contacted directly through the local Schools. Project partner Social Futures has strong ties to these schools, and relationships built over the years of this program contribute strongly to the high response rate for both program response and reporting response.
Of the 99 schools contacted, almost 80% participated, showing the extent of the need for financial support.
A total of 782 students were supported with the vouchers. This equates to 567 grandcarers supported through this program.
Many schools across the region experienced direct impact as a result of flooding and storm damage; access routes were impacted by landslides, road-slips and impassable and unsafe roads; students and teachers were also personally impacted by the disaster.
Feedback from the community showed the vouchers were greatly appreciated by flood impacted families to purchase blankets for winter.
The program reported smiles on grandcarers’ faces at the gesture and the items the vouchers helped purchase.
“Some of these carers and families are struggling in many ways. This gift supports them,” the teachers said.
One region support through the program, the township of Iluka, was severely impacted over three to four years due to floods, fires, drought and of course COVID. Grandcarers here were very appreciative and surprised, the teachers reported.