By GIVIT’s Head of Communication, Kayla:
I have no idea how to start this, I’m not even sure what I’m trying to say. But I can’t think of anything else… I can’t do anything else… until it’s been said.
This is an opinion piece, my opinion. The thoughts that have continued to swirl round and round my mind regarding our current drought appeal for Georgetown in Far North Queensland.
A few weeks ago we received an email from a local charity letting us know that slow internet speeds in the area mean some families living on remote properties are unable to meet obligations for distance education and are instead needing to drive their children long distances (two to three hours) to school.
After years of crippling drought, these added fuel costs are stretching already maxed budgets, and many families simply can’t afford it. The children can’t get to school.
We’ve since continued to hear stories about the devastating situation these families are in and the challenges they face: huge debt, starving cattle, endless despair, no income, no food, businesses they’ve worked a lifetime to build crumbling under them. And now, children who can’t receive an education.
Yesterday I received an email about one family and stared at my computer screen for minutes in disbelief – processing the horrific situation they’re enduring.
It kept playing on my mind and last night over dinner I shared these stories with my partner Lee, a third-generation cattle farmer, and he listened to me in despair. What can we do? How can we feel okay when there’s so many others who don’t? We looked outside over the green grass hills out at the fat, happy cows and saw the privileges someone else is searching so desperately for.
When I looked at him I knew that if we choose to have children one day, despite the many struggles we may face, no education won’t be one of them. I won’t have to worry about if my children can get to school. I’m not going to have to wake up and tell them that mummy and daddy just can’t afford it today, we can’t fill up the car. They can’t see their friends or teachers, hand in their assessment, attend sports day, the school excursion or learn about that subject they’re so interested in. I’m not going to have to go to sleep at night devastated because this situation is affecting their future.
I’m not going to wake up the next day and open an empty fridge, wondering how I’m going to feed my family. I’m not going to have to stress about using my underwear for fear of them becoming old and worn when I don’t have money for a replacement. I’m not going to know I can’t get my children to the doctors when they’re sick, that I won’t be able to buy sanitary items during my next period and be forced to use rags. I’m not going to watch my husband leave for work every single day knowing he can’t help us.
Now, as I sit here in an office with electricity, a flushing toilet, clean water and internet I feel devastated there are others who don’t have this. As our General Manager, Marcus, said “it breaks my heart to think I’m about to go and eat a nice lunch and someone else can’t.”
What are we going to do? How are we going to help? GIVIT is a charity for charities right? Can’t we do more? I’m angry, I’m frustrated and devastated… but I’m hopeful. I’m hopeful because I know GIVIT can help. We are their chance.
We are the national voice for these 70 families. We are the portal spreading the plights of these vulnerable people to the 23 million others Australians who can help. We are that connection.
We can’t change the internet speeds but we can give these families the chance to feel hope, kindness and connection. We can get the children to school, we can give the dad new underwear and we can provide food vouchers so mum can fill the fridge for the first time in years. We can let them know that they are not alone and someone else cares. Maybe we can even save a life.
I think about you, reading this, and wonder what you’re thinking. Is this pulling you like it does me? Is it breaking your heart? Are you driven to help? Will you?
At GIVIT we don’t often request donated funds. In fact, we try incredibly hard not to. Money is valuable – we all need our own. But right now, it’s very likely someone else needs it more than you. If you want to help please visit our website and click ‘Drought Relief’ in the dropdown box. You can even put ‘Georgetown’ in the comments. I am proud to say every single cent of that money will go straight to purchasing vouchers for locally these families.
Every time we get a Drought Relief donation the team cheers, a difference is being made. There’s a long way to go, but imagine the impact we could have if we all gave a $50 fuel voucher!!