In 2011/12, Australian aid helped 1 million more children enroll in school. Photo by Ilana Rose, World Vision.
It was my daughter Daisy’s first day of Prep recently.
There was such a build-up to the big day, like we were preparing for a birthday. Family, friends and strangers all asked her how “excited” she was, and then checked my face for tears.
The first few times I was asked how I felt I was a bit incredulous – why would I cry about FINALLY having a few hours in the day to myself?!
But then I understood. Heading off to school is another sign your baby has grown up; a life moment to make you pause and feel time whooshing past.
The image I have from that day, the one I hope will always mark it in my memory, is the sight of her skipping ahead of her parents and grandparents, so very keen to get to school and start her day. Here she is:
Her delight was a relief, and it reminded me of so many other children whose smiles have been captured by World Vision en route to school – their delight at going to class, to learn and be with their friends, instead of leaving childhood behind to go and work.
In Australia, a good education is seen as an essential stepping stone in life, but it’s an expectation.
For so many of the children whose stories I read and faces I see as I do my work, I know education is not guaranteed. It’s not an assumption a child living in poverty can make.
For these children, education is a privilege, an opportunity they cherish as a means to help them make the changes they want to see in their world.
As our family prepared to wave Daisy off to school, the Federal Government announced the results of their first review of Australia’s aid program.
In 2011/12, Australian aid helped to enroll over 1 million more children in school, build or upgrade 2,200 more classrooms and provide 3 million textbooks to schools looking to provide a better quality education.
Again, I was struck by the parallels between my family and the millions of other families I’ll never meet, but who are experiencing this milestone for the first time.
It made me pleased to know we’re one of many. And it made me pleased to know that Australian aid has such a big part to play in helping those who need it most.
Congratulations to all the Preps for 2013, and to the parents who have got them to this stage of their life. You’re in good company!
Lisa Hodson is a Communications Coordinator at World Vision. She’s the mother of two beautiful children, Daisy and Finnan.
Do you remember your first day of school? Or your children’s first day? Share your stories below, we’d love to hear from you.