Lee Ausage, 11, and his mother Rosie test out a laptop received from State Schools' Relief. Image by Daniel Pockett/AAP PHOTOS


Vic student gifted laptop to study at home

2020-05-15 17:13:10

Grade six student Lee Ausage had to wait behind his five older siblings each day before he could start school.

But the surprise gift of a laptop on Thursday means the 11-year-old at Dandenong South Primary School in Victoria no longer needs those high school students to hurry up before he can study remotely.

Instead, Lee will just share the device with his five other primary-school aged siblings to learn online amid COVID-19 rules.

Lee is one of 14 siblings, and 11 of them are in school.

“We are so happy. Lee is so surprised,” his Samoan mother Rosie Ausage told AAP on Thursday.

While they have home internet, there are just not enough devices to go around for their schooling.

“We don’t have anything at home to use. We have internet but not a device (for the little ones),” the mother of 14, including five adopted children, said.

“If I can get a laptop at home I can help them do the work. Sometimes I use my older kids’ laptop for high school.

“Now we have one, I am so, so happy.”

The donated laptop is from State Schools’ Relief, an organisation that’s been supporting families in need for 90 years.

While it usually focuses on uniforms, there’s an increasing need to help with technology given the pandemic and the shift to at-home learning.

State Schools’ Relief chief executive Sue Karzis said 800 laptops, 3000 dongles, and 1000 desks and chairs had been distributed across Victoria.

“Within a week we had to find laptops and stationery packs, and internet dongles and USBs, we had to turn this around at speed. We changed our entire model… and started doing all these new items,” she told AAP.

In the past three weeks, the organisation – mostly funded by the state government – has had 8000 applications for help.

“It is not an isolated story sadly, it is something we have heard a lot,” Ms Karzis said.

“Every time we equip a student with something they need, we are also assisting a family.”

The donation is separate to a state government announcement that it would loan 6000-plus laptops and tablets to students in need.