In late 2019 and early 2020, the most savage bushfires on record wreaked havoc and devastation on Australian families. More than 2000 homes were destroyed and hundreds of families and children lost all possessions.
Kiwanis Club of Geelong recognise the trauma and long-term effect on children by donating $10,000 to a partnership between Kiwanis Australia District and UNICEF Australia to reach out and provide support towards their healing and recovery.
It is because of supporters such as Kiwanis
that UNICEF Australia can to do its work. Through campaigns such as UNICEF’s
Australian Bushfire Response in 2020 and the Kiwanis International global Eliminate
Program Kiwanis have been able to help children thrive and survive.
Children are uniquely vulnerable to the effects of disasters and Kiwanis is focused on ensuring their needs are being prioritised as we seek to support their healing and recovery through the partnerships with UNICEF Australia.
Children are at the centre of UNICEF’s response to the bushfire crisis. They are working with partners such as Kiwanis to deliver responses that will:
- Help get kids back to school: Assisting relief partners to ensure that the necessary support and resources are available for affected children to return to school
- Help kids recover from trauma and distress: Supporting recovery by working with partners to provide access to psychosocial support for affected children.
- Empower young people and ensure that they are heard: Contributing to rehabilitation efforts by convening appropriate forums to ensure children’s voices shape future responses.
To date UNICEF Australia has:
- Worked with local organisations in affected communities to supply education materials. A critical focus was on delivering relief packages to ensure many children were ready for school and this support is ongoing
- Conducted field visits to affected communities in order to assess the need and understand what community services are required
- Commenced work with children and communities in Victoria and New South Wales, focusing on psychosocial and mental health support, including play therapy. Moving forward some activities will be moved to e-learning and online platforms due to COVID 19
- Provided support to Kangaroo Island Community School in South Australia who are delivering psychosocial services for children
- Is working with Government counterparts at the federal and state level (Victoria and New South Wales) to ensure our response is co-ordinated with regards to youth and child focus activities