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Living in a small town

11 August 2017, Action for Change

Save the Children Youth Ambassador, Annalise, shares her first-hand experience of living in a small town in the Kimberley.

The 14-year-old student calls on all Australians to come together to tackle the issues they face.

Annalise's Story

I moved to Perth about a year ago to attend boarding school and found myself alone in a big city, flooded with assessments and struggling to find my feet.

I come from a small town that doesn’t provide quality education. The town shares the issues facing many other communities in the Kimberley: extremely high rates of domestic violence and suicide, and children discouraged from going to school from a young age. They have no passion or understanding of the opportunities that have been taken from them. The use of drugs, alcohol, smoking; all of them start at a very young age and many never break this cycle.

This small little town has so many problems, yet it seems like a shutdown occurs when people think about the violence and suicides in the Kimberley. The ‘if you don’t hear it, it’s not happening’ mentality is having detrimental effects on the community and culture. People are unaware of the issues a small town can face. Waking up in the middle of the night because of yelling outside is a very common occurrence – there are small children who must hear this every night and struggle to get to school as a result. We need the support of politicians to help children get to school and escape that kind of environment.

The choice to move to Perth was the hardest decision of my life but I wouldn’t change it for the world. Here there are opportunities never offered to me before and I am having the time of my life. Nine girls around me come from the same environment and must travel 3,000 kilometres for an education, because they know education is the most important asset a person can have. We know too well the struggle of trading off our families for our future. Should young children have to make this decision just to be guaranteed a safer future?

As a Save the Children Youth Ambassador, I want other children to receive the same education and opportunities I have had, and I urge Australia to help tackle the issues that other small towns face each day.

When domestic violence murders don’t make headlines in the news and suicide rates are high, it is time we worked together to solve the displacement of culture, reduce poverty and increase education.

Find out more about our inspiring 2017 Youth Ambassadors here. Learn about Save the Children’s work with young people in Western Australia here.

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