Friends with Dignity provide scholarships to children who have faced family and domestic violence throughout Australia. The aim is to ensure that all children have the ability to gain further education and join in with extra-curricular activities. These scholarships are so valuable because the financial impact of violence within a child’s family environment can make it difficult to participate as much they deserve to. The first six rounds of the program have seen a total of 276 Little Friend Scholarships awarded to children aged between 5-18 years of age nationally since its launch in 2017, totalling $117,065.
The two categories of scholarships, Education and Extra-curricular, are provided bi annually.
Educational scholarships can include school fees, stationary, uniforms, school camps, laptops or iPads for learning purposes and more. Extra-curricular scholarships might include class fees, uniforms for sports, artistic or musical activities and registration.
“We established the Little Friends Scholarship program to ensure all children who are facing or have faced domestic violence have the ability to normalise their lives.”
“The scholarships are designed to help young domestic violence survivors re-build their confidence. This is done by finding something they are good at, and making sure their education continues” says Julia McKenna, Friends With Dignity Director and Chief Financial Officer.
The benefits of the scholarships and the impact of family violence
Extra-curricular activities can be so much more beneficial than some parents might realise. Children learn great positive social skills and the activities can help build their self-esteem. On top of this, physical and mental wellbeing can improve a lot from activities like sports, team building and simply having fun with other children. The opportunity for growth is huge when children can have additional time spent on learning skills. This is especially true when it’s something that they really enjoy. Additionally, every child deserves to have access to tools for learning, no matter what their circumstances are. It doesn’t have a good impact on a child’s wellbeing to not have the same items or abilities as your peers.
According to the Childhood Domestic Violence Association, it is statistically proven that being exposed to domestic violence has a huge impact on children. Experts say that exposure can lead to short-term and long-term negative mental, behavioural, and social effects. Children who witness physical, emotional or verbal domestic violence growing up are twice as likely to abuse drugs. Futhermore, they are also six times more likely to die by suicide. “Many of the children that have historically applied for a scholarship are suffering from significant trauma. Some even with PTSD…” Ms McKenna said.
The seventh round of scholarships
Round seven applications open on the 22nd of June, 2020, and close on the 24th of July, 2020. There are a minimum of 40 scholarships available. Anyone interested to apply for the Little Friends Scholarship Program can visit the Friends With Dignity website to download an application form.
The community can donate to the Friends With Dignity Little Friends Scholarship program at the Little Friends Scholarship Community Fund MyCause page.
If you are facing domestic or family violence then you can find resources on the Queensland Government’s website.