The Assist A Student (AAS) Program is a special work of the St Vincent de Paul Society in Australia that recognises that improved levels of education reduce barriers and help individuals to reach their full potential.
The Program commenced as a pilot in Victoria in 1986 as the Adopt A Student Program, providing $70 per student sponsored in Australia’s Twinned countries. The program became national in 1995.
The program was reviewed in late 2019 and a number of recommendations of that Review have now been implemented. The Review found that the program is making a real difference to the lives of students and families supported.
From conference members interviewed for the Review:
Students feel a sense of being part of a bigger community. Students strive harder … and feel that there must be something special in education to have outside help like AAS.
If students cannot pay school fees they build a debt, so money can be used to pay this off a little bit. When parents get money, they feel relieved. Students also feel happier and can study better.
And from students:
Thank you so much. I really appreciate your financial support and your trust. No words can define my heartfelt thank you to all of you. May our Lord bless us always.
Click here for a special video thank you.
In 2020 the program is supporting 2,400 students from Cambodia, Indonesia, Kiribati, Myanmar, Philippines, Sri Lanka and Thailand.
The amount provided to individual students will increase to $100 from 2021. Individual donors do not have to cover the full sponsorship for a student and as always, donations of any amount are gratefully received by the program.
Updated posters and brochures for the program will be available early in 2021 to allow promotion of Assist a Student through local conferences and parishes.
Jude Blacklock is the Overseas Development Program Facilitator.