Getting to know my International contacts: Part 1

This week I got some wonderful answers to the questions about poverty that my professional contacts encounter in their professional lives and other issues they are concerned about throughout the world. They are as follows:


From Jenny in Australia she had mentioned that she works in a low-socio economic, rural area,  where a lot of children from single parent families and children of farmers attend her school. Her school offers low fees so that all children can attend preschool and that the government does subsidies for low income and aboriginal people. Therefore a lack of money will not stop a child from being educated- which is great!

I had also asked Jenny if poverty is such a thing in Australia as you hardly hear about it on the news. Jenny had agreed with me and said you do not see it much on the news, especially in big cities, however poverty is an issue on the outskirts of the bigger cities in Australia.

The other issues Jenny had mentioned that she is concerned about in Australia and it seems as if the Australian government are concerned about them as well, which is terrorism, drugs and theft. She had said that just this week perpetrators walked into her house, took her keys and phone and drove off in her car. She said she was quite shocked and saddened by this as she lives in a lovely country town.


From Jen in Auckland, New Zealand works in a school in a community that is urban and suburban with a range of people who come from different socio-economic conditions. In her school they currently have French, German, Hindi, Mandarin, Maori, English and Afrikaans children, parents, extended families and teachers.

Jen mentioned that in New Zealand, child poverty is an increasing concern and that the Children’s Commissioner put together an Expert Advisory Group (EAG) to address this issue and research from this group showed 25% of children, which is about 270 000 children, currently live in poverty in New Zealand. This is shocking!

She said that the EAG continued to show short and long term impacts on poverty in New Zealand. The EAG mentioned that child poverty is costly, as child poverty imposes costs on the children involved and in society.

For individual children, the short-term impacts include having insufficient nutritious food, going to school hungry and living in a cold, damp house. It often means missing out on important childhood opportunities like school outings and sports activities. The impacts also include lower educational achievement, worse health outcomes and social exclusion. These differential outcomes, as well as the neurological responses to growing up in poverty, mean that childhood poverty can leave life-time scars, which will result in;

Long term impacts such as reduced employment prospects, lower earnings, poorer health, and higher rates of criminal offending in adulthood.

Jen continued to say that the economic costs of child poverty are in the range of $6-8 billion per year and considerable sums of public money are spent annually on remedial interventions. Jen continued to say that she is currently involved in an initiative to boost educational achievement in her local community. The ‘Community of Learning’ cluster brings together local early childhood centres, primary and secondary schools. The aim is to create a shared vision for children to transition through their schooling with a supportive focus on targeted areas of learning, such as literacy. The Northcote community where she currently works in has areas of high transience amongst residents, due to a lower socio- economic demographic, which has led to an inconsistency in schooling, and as a result educational data on their achievement also becomes inconsistent.
To conclude, how sad is it that poverty is so widespread and how all the issues of crime, violence, abuse are all somehow linked to poverty. Poverty is certainly a big issue in the world we live in and if we try our best to combat poverty slowly but surely by taking part in organisations and local communities who are fighting poverty, I am very sure we will overcome not only the poverty issues, but other issues that are linked and caused by poverty. I am really encouraged to know from my contacts that governments are helping to combat poverty in their countries and I am certainly encouraged by Jen, from New Zealand to become more involved in my local community.

3 thoughts on “Getting to know my International contacts: Part 1

  1. Justine,
    The school offering of low fees so that all children can attend preschool is wonderful and I think that we should bring that idea to all schools in the US. Your post was very informative, and I am looking forward to learning more about their ideas on poverty, and the solutions that they are coming up with.


  2. Justine,
    You’re so lucky to have found colleagues to share information with regarding their country’s social issues. It’s great both countries have taken initiatives on alleviating their nation’s poverty through public policy. Makes me wonder where the US stands when it comes to addressing this sensitive economic issue focusing on education?


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