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Learning from each other in W.A

Often women and children flee a violent home without notice or time to pack anything in a bag. These sudden changes can disrupt a child’s or teenager’s life and schooling, and can hinder their normal development.

In 2015 a number of year 11 students from two schools in Western Australia started a mentoring and tutoring club for the children living at The Salvation Army’s Perth women’s refuge. Each Tuesday and Wednesday after school, the students spend about an hour at the refuge, playing games and helping children with their homework.

Samantha, one of The Salvation Army’s early learning advocates at the refuge, says many of the children and teenagers come from negative and unstable environments. 

Learning From Each Other

“But with the year 11 students coming in here they can have role models around their age to look up to, and in lots of ways, model their behaviour on,” Samantha says.

David Alderson is a teacher at Hale School in Perth. Each week he takes four students to the women’s refuge and says they get a lot out of their involvement. “They’ve come to the realisation that small and simple activities, like playing and helping with homework, can actually make a difference,” David says.

“The students also learn from the kids because, while many of the children have experienced unpleasant situations in their young lives, most maintain a wonderfully optimistic and fun-loving attitude to life.

“Everyone learns from each other.”