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Living a rural lifestyle on a 100-acre property in Northern New South Wales sounds idyllic. And in many ways, it is. But for single mum Kylie and her three kids, mother nature has certainly thrown a few curve balls to interrupt their peaceful country life.

Kylie has an orchard and grows garlic, relying on market gardens to sell her garlic crop for income. After battling the effects of drought, devastating bushfires ravaged the area in late 2019. Their property was surrounded by fire from August until December. With the sky dark from ash and smoke, the garlic crop didn’t mature. Kylie turned to training horses to keep some money coming in until a new crop was ready for the markets.

Then COVID-19 hit. With the country in lockdown to stop the spread of the pandemic, there were no more market gardens. Suddenly Sidney (Year 7), Briony (Year 6) and Jacqueline (Year 4) were home from school, with the family trying to get to grips with learning remotely. With only one computer at home, and no money to buy new ones, Kylie picked up hard copy learning packs from school for Briony and Jacqueline. With all three kids trying to share one computer, the girls were missing out on important online learning and couldn’t access their online classes.

Living in a bushfire impacted area, Kylie found out about Variety’s Tech 4 School grant from the local school that the kids attend. Within days their application was approved for two laptops, and the girls have been making the most of the computers ever since.

“School has gone back but the laptops are still playing a very important role for homework and general reading. Their learning for school has improved significantly, and they are becoming much more computer literate which is really important. Briony loves cooking so she is always googling recipes to try. Jacqueline is very academic and also loves art – she is always on the laptop reading and exploring.”

Kylie is very concerned that there will be ongoing COVID outbreaks, and that the need to isolate will happen again. She said that having the education technology and resources to keep the kids learning and progressing their education like everyone else is really important for the long term.

“The Variety We Learn grant has made a massive difference to my family and kids. It’s a very wise thing to grant to kids. Providing laptops to young people will help lift the education standards in Australia, which benefits everyone – more kids having good learning outcomes helps us all!”

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Variety believes all kids deserve a fair go. We help kids 0 – 18 years of age who are living with sickness, disadvantage or have special needs.