Suncorp donation helps combat digital divide
At a time when digital inclusion is critically important, Suncorp and The Smith Family have kept hundreds of vulnerable Australian families connected during the COVID-19 crisis.
Earlier this year Suncorp pledged $1 million to The Smith Family to help combat the digital divide facing vulnerable children and their families.
Since then, the donation has seen 650 vulnerable families across the country receive a new laptop, internet connection or technical support to help with schooling at home.
Queensland mother-of-three Colleen experienced first-hand the challenges of having limited access to the internet when her children moved to online learning during the COVID-19 isolation period.
“At the start of lockdown, I had an overwhelming feeling of hopelessness about the situation. I was feeling very anxious about how I could help support the kids for an unknown amount of time,” Colleen said.
“My children were struggling to complete their work and really missing the social engagement with their friends. Home learning was a very new concept for them.
“It was impossible to get the kids engaged to sit down with book work in the home environment. When we received the laptop and internet pack, the kids were so much more engaged.
“We’re really hoping that we don’t have to return to at home learning if Queensland ends up in lockdown again, but the kids are much happier being able to access their schoolwork on the device."
I was feeling very anxious about how I could help support the kids for an unknown amount of time. When we received the laptop and internet pack, the kids were so much more engaged.Colleen, pictured with her children
Suncorp CEO Steve Johnston said it had been heart-warming to see so many families benefit from Suncorp’s support and the great work of the Smith Family.
“As a father of two and having seen the way education has evolved in recent years, I recognise the incredible importance of ensuring all children have access to the tools and support they need to get the most out of their schooling,” Mr Johnston said.
“We know COVID-19 will have a lasting impact on our society for many years to come, especially for those who were already doing it tough.
“Supporting the immediate and long-term recovery of our communities is a key priority for Suncorp, and we have been proud to play a small role in helping The Smith Family make a big difference for kids in need.”
An enduring impact
For Australian children and families already living in poverty, the COVID-19 pandemic may have a particularly devastating and enduring impact, with many of the challenges they were already facing likely enhanced. The cohort of more than 50,000 students on The Smith Family’s Learning for Life program were already facing a wide range of complex and often compounding issues, including: