By Fidelis Rego
Students at a school in south-east Queensland have said they are simply “returning the favour” by donating thousands of dollars worth of cattle feed and supplies to drought-affected farmers.
The students from St Mary’s Primary School in the Lockyer Valley town of Laidley set up the Rural Connect program in their first term and raised $10,000 in 24 hours.
Their first shipment of aid, which includes about 35 tonnes of feed and farm supplies, was sent off by truck to the South Burnett region, about 250 kilometres north-east of Laidley.
Teacher Matt Hogan said the students wanted to repay the kindness that was shown to them when Laidley was flooded in 2011 and again last year.
“We had so much help and assistance, not only at school but to the families in our area,” he said.
Just because we’ve gotten rain in the south-east doesn’t mean that they’ve been getting it out west. There’s still over 70 per cent of Queensland affected by drought.
St Mary’s teacher Matt Hogan
“They then want to be able to return that favour by helping those farmers that are drought-affected at the moment.
“So they’re really quite appreciative of what was done for them at the school and on their houses and farms.”
While Queensland’s south-east corner has had some rain in recent weeks, other parts of the state have not been as lucky.
“Where we’re going out to, Proston, missed out on all of that rain in that significant rain event a couple of weeks ago,” Mr Hogan said.
“Just because we’ve gotten rain in the south-east doesn’t mean that they’ve been getting it out west. There’s still over 70 per cent of Queensland affected by drought.”
Proud parents watched on as the convoy, including two semi-trailers, headed off to Proston under police escort.
Even as the trucks pulled out of town, students armed with buckets headed into the main street to get more donations and locals were happy to oblige.
Students came up with idea during class on social justice
Year six student Mia Venema said she was surprised by the support from the local community.
“The farmers have helped us with everything so now it’s our turn to help the farmers,” she said.
“I guess this could be something that we could keep continuing till the farmers come good.”
She said it was a wonderful sight watching the trucks head off with feed bought with money they raised.
The farmers have helped us with everything so now it’s our turn to help the farmers.
Year six student Mia Venema
“It feels really good that we helped do something and we’re helping people even though we don’t know these people in real life,” she said.
“We’re helping them because they’ve helped us.”
The program was an idea the students came up with during a social justice class in their first term.
“I think they have that realisation, coming from a rural background, that things aren’t all that fantastic,” Mr Hogan said.
“We have things like floods and droughts and its important we look after each other.
“It comes back down to that social justice thing about how we can help out other people. They were very quick to work out the best ways to do that.”
Topics: rural, schools, education, drought, laidley-4341, proston-4613, qld
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