South-West Sydney has a high percentage of children living in poverty, with Claymore being one of Australia's poorest suburbs. Intergenerational disadvantage, homelessness, single parent families, unemployment and a high percentage of residents under the age of 15 all adds up to a huge number of children living with social deprivation. Unfortunately, OECD research shows that coming from an environment of disadvantage predisposes students to poor educational results, and this then predisposes them to employment inequality. So, at the most basic level, if a child starts kindergarten without all necessary school supplies to start formal learning, this may put them on the path to continued disadvantage from the beginning.
Second Life Stationery is a not-for-profit organisation that takes donations of gently-used stationery & school supplies from individuals and businesses. This group of volunteers then cleans & re-packs the donated items into backpacks, and passes them on to organisations who provide assistance to disadvantaged people. The main purpose of the group is to assist learners who are disadvantaged, in the form of the most basic school supplies like pencils, erasers, rulers & exercise books. We also ensure that each backpack has a reading book at an appropriate level for the age group. Literacy is the key to academic achievement, and sadly, children from low socio-economic backgrounds are at risk of reading difficulties due to a lack of exposure to books. Therefore, even one book in each of these backpacks could assist in improving literacy for these children.
Funded by Sydney (December 2016)