This groundbreaking Australian initiative provides bi-annual monetary scholarships to children across the country who have been impacted by domestic and family violence.
The Little Friends Scholarships were established to ensure that all children have the opportunity to pursue their education or engage in extracurricular activities that they might otherwise be unable to afford due to the financial consequences of domestic and family violence.
“Education is expensive, and many extracurricular activities are often overlooked,” said Jaqui Brosnan, the National Scholarships Manager at Friends with Dignity.
In each state or territory, two scholarships of up to $500 are guaranteed to be awarded, with the remaining funds distributed on an as-needed basis.
Brosnan emphasised the organisation’s commitment to supporting children affected by domestic and family violence, helping them lead happy, healthy, and inclusive lives.
“The Little Friends Scholarships give families the chance to say ‘yes’ to more opportunities, such as joining a sports team or going on school camp,” said Brosnan.
“These scholarships enable children to participate, socialise, and shine for the right reasons.”
Responding to community requests to contribute to the Little Friends Scholarship program, Friends with Dignity has launched the Little Friends Scholarship Community Fund, allowing the general public to help children in need.
“Donations to the Little Friends Scholarship Community Fund, regardless of size, make a difference. All funds received will be aggregated in $500 amounts, equivalent to the size of a scholarship. Donations over $2 are tax deductible,” Brosnan added.
While most Friends with Dignity programs operate on a referral basis from organisations and refuges, the Little Friends Scholarship Program allows parents to personally submit applications.
“The Little Friends Scholarship program empowers parents to share their children’s stories and explain how the scholarship will improve their lives.”
“However, the application still requires co-signature by a support worker, GP, school principal, school counsellor, or similar professional,” she added.
Furthermore, children who witness physical, emotional, or verbal domestic violence during their upbringing are twice as likely to abuse drugs and six times more likely to die by suicide.
“Many of the children who have previously applied for a scholarship have experienced profound trauma, with some even suffering from PTSD.”
This year, the Community Fund has been established to allow the wider community to make a difference by raising additional funds specifically designated for extra scholarships.
Every cent raised contributes to a $500 block, enabling the awarding of one additional scholarship. These funds supplement contributions from corporate entities and awarded grants.
By donating even a small amount, individuals can collectively increase the number of scholarships offered.
The funds raised through the Community Fund will be utilised bi-annually in conjunction with each round of scholarship applications, which are offered twice per year.
Applications for the 13th round of scholarships are now open and close on Friday, August 4, 2023.
Menchie Khairuddin is a writer Deputy Content Manager at Akolade and content producer for Third Sector News. She is passionate about social affairs specifically in mixed, multicultural heritage and not-for-profit organisations.