It’s hard to fit in when you’re a teenager.
Even when students all wear the same uniform, a child can be picked on because their uniform is not the right length, because it's faded, or because the school shoes they wear aren't the 'cool' ones.
It becomes especially hard when families are doing it tough and just can't afford the right gear.
Students in that situation usually have to take whatever they can get – a hand-me-down from an older sibling, something from a charity shop, or the school's second-hand uniform store.
Zoe, a Year 9 student, knew this all too well. She was so embarrassed about her old, stained uniform that she wore a jacket over it all summer… despite the soaring heat.
She would sit alone, often spending her breaks in the library, as it was one of the few places it was cool enough with her jacket on.
But after receiving a $50 Back to School voucher from the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal, she was able to buy a new uniform. Zoe says she feels like she fits in with the other kids now and her teachers report that she's spending more time with others and is no longer sitting alone in the library. It took just $50 to help Zoe focus on her learning again.
Our Foundation has donated $375,000 to FRRR's Back to School program, helping 15,000 families like Zoe's, with school-related expenses.
We've changed Zoe's name to protect her privacy.