Give the gift of education this Christmas

It’s Double Your Donation Week! From 18–25 December all donations to our Christmas Appeal will be doubled, thanks to the generosity of our board members.

Around 46,000 children are in out-of-home care in Australia right now. Many of these young people are unable to grow up safely at home with their birth parents because of violence, neglect and abuse. Others have lost one or both parents in tragic circumstances. Though they may find it difficult to focus on their studies, a good education can be their way out of poverty and into a better, happier life. You can give them that chance.

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Young people in care urgently need your help. Your kind gift can give them an education that will transform their lives.

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Donation Total: $50.00 One Time

A childhood of shocking neglect: Charlotte’s story

Charlotte’s parents were in their late teens when they had her and her brother. They struggled with drug addiction and were in and out of jail for all her early years.

When Charlotte was six years old, her father died of a drug overdose. Her mother, dealing with her own addiction problems, didn’t care if she went to school or not, so Charlotte would make her own way to the kindy, without lunch or recess. “Somehow it was instilled in me, even at that age, that I needed to go,” Charlotte recalls. “The teachers would give me food. They were really nice to me.”

On her seventh birthday, Charlotte and her eight-month-old baby sister were removed from their mum by DoCS. Charlotte spent that birthday in a stranger’s home. “That lady was kind to me – she made me a birthday cake, which was the first one I had ever had. She even bought me some presents.”

“I didn’t understand what foster care was. I just wanted to be with my mum.”

After that, Charlotte lived in many different foster homes and attended about 10 different schools. When a placement broke down, she would be sent to another stranger’s home. During this period, Charlotte’s mum went to jail several times and never once visited her children.

When Charlotte was in her teens, she and her younger siblings were placed with foster carers who were abusive and controlling. “We were only allowed to go to school and back home,” she recalls. “They wouldn’t allow us to come out of our rooms, even for tap water. I didn’t know what to do – I was really scared but I also knew I couldn’t stay there.”

The stress of her living situation came to a head when Charlotte broke down during her year 11 exams. “I had never told anyone at school what I was going through,” she says. “I didn’t want to be judged for not having a family. I didn’t want people to feel sorry for me.”

Her teachers were shocked to learn what was happening and called the authorities. A few days later, Charlotte was taken to a youth refuge in the city.

“The foster carers put all my stuff in two black garbage bags. That was my life – in two black garbage bags. It was just awful. You don’t even get a suitcase. You don’t know where you are going, who you will be with and how long you will be staying there.”

Life in the city was overwhelming for Charlotte. “I’d never been taught things like how to catch a bus. And the refuges aren’t nice places. When you’re a certain age, you know no family is going to take you in.”

Charlotte had to move many times, to many different refuges. “I’m just lucky that I’ve always been stubborn. I got a job in a pharmacy while I was still at school. I kept going to school even though it was hard to get there.”

Charlotte managed to finish year 12. She had wanted to be a nurse for as long as she could remember.

It was Charlotte’s caseworker who told her about the Sisters of Charity Foundation scholarship and encouraged her to apply.

“I thought – what have I got to lose?” she says. “And then I got it! It was honestly one of the best days of my life.”

The scholarship paid for Charlotte’s university tuition and her books. She was able to buy her uniform and pay for her travel. Importantly, she could afford to take time off from work to attend her classes.

Charlotte says the scholarship gave her not just financial help but also confidence and self-belief. She worked hard and graduated from university with a Bachelor of Nursing. “Foster kids get pushed to the side and they end up passing the trauma on. I knew I didn’t want to live that life. I think other kids can break the cycle if they have the right support.”

Today Charlotte has a job she loves and is happily married. “The scholarship changed my life in so many ways,” she says. “Before, there were so many Christmases and birthdays where I didn’t have anyone. Now I have an amazing life.”

You can transform a life through education

As Christmas approaches, young people around Australia are celebrating the end of high school. Some are making plans to go to university or TAFE, while others have exciting job opportunities to look forward to.

But for young people who have grown up in care, the future can feel scary and bleak.

The Sisters of Charity Foundation has been giving tertiary scholarships to young people from out-of-home care, like Charlotte, for more than a decade. Every day we see first-hand the difference a scholarship can make.

Since 2012 we have seen 21 students graduate with a university degree or TAFE diploma, and go on to fulfilling careers that provide happiness and security – breaking the cycle of poverty for good.

All young people, no matter their upbringing, deserve the same access to education. Your kindness today will be life-changing for someone like Charlotte. Please, donate now.

 

Donate via direct deposit

  • Account Name: Sisters of Charity Foundation Ltd
  • BSB: 032 040
  • Account number: 126 376

Please enter your full name in the reference field if using direct deposit. Please email [email protected] or phone (02) 9367 1211 and let us know the date of your contribution and the amount so that we can send you a tax receipt.