Back to School drive helping to support children in Hunter refuges stand out for the right reasons this coming school year

Friends with Dignity Chief Operations Officer and Director, Zoe Scharenguivel.
Friends with Dignity Chief Operations Officer and Director, Zoe Scharenguivel.


ONE in five children witness and experience domestic violence in the one place they are meant to feel safest of all.

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Domestic violence doesn’t discriminate in age, gender, culture, religion or economic background, it affects us all.

When a parent escapes violence with their children they usually leave everything they have and know behind.

For the children this means a new home, a new school and having to make new friends.

Friends with Dignity is a national not-for-profit organisation providing assistance to the those who have been displaced by domestic violence.

Friends with Dignity Co-Director and Chief Financial Officer, Julia McKenna said, “Leaving behind your home, school, friends and family to escape the ravages of domestic violence, drastically affects the confidence of young people,”

Friends with Dignity’s Chief Executive Officer, Manuela Whitford said, “Children living in refuges are required to enrol at the nearest school but often have nothing to take to class, due to their unstable living circumstances and lack of resources.”

“Starting the new school year is hard enough for all children, but starting at a new school, not knowing anyone and not having the essentials that every other child has, can be all too much to handle,” said Ms McKenna.

The volunteer organisation is currently running a Back to School Drive to help children in Hunter refuges start school with dignity but they need your help.

Ms McKenna said, “We are aiming to provide over 500 backpacks nationally to children who have faced the trauma of domestic violence, and had to leave their much loved belongings behind,”

Donations of essential school items such as backpacks, pen, pencils, highlighters, notepads, pencil cases, coloured pencils, erasers, glue, rulers, clear contact, lunch boxes, water bottles and Label stickers are needed.

Donations can be left with LJ Hooker in Raymond Terrace and Medowie.

The collection finishes on 17 January.

Help the children from Hunter refuge’s stand out for all the right reasons this school year.


By Kelly MAY

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