25 November, 2014 - New teaching resources from Plan, SchoolAid help kids to understand Ebola
Ian Wishart, CEO of Plan International Australia, and Sean Gordon, founder of SchoolAid are available for grabs and interviews. Please contact Adam Cathro on 0488 202 945 to organise.

Child rights organisation and schools-based philanthropic network SchoolAid are today launching resources to help children understand the confronting images and news of the Ebola crisis they are seeing and hearing in the media every day.

“As with any emergency or disaster, it’s impossible to shield children from the tragic news and images we are seeing from West Africa, no matter how much we might like to,” says Ian Wishart, CEO of Plan International Australia.

“Instead, we believe it is better for children in Australia to learn and understand the facts, not just about Ebola but also about communicable diseases and the impact of disasters and emergencies,” Wishart says.

“It is children who bear the brunt of disasters in the developing world, and Ebola is no different. We know that around 10 million children have been affected and more than 20 per cent of confirmed cases have been among children.”

“Even children who recover from the disease, or who don’t even contract it, are seeing their parents or caregivers dying and are then finding themselves shunned or abandoned, or both. Children are always the innocent casualties.”

“Children everywhere have great empathy and deep sympathy for other children, no matter how distant, and Australian kids are no different. Children here are hungry for knowledge and we believe it’s best to give it to them straight, explain the facts and help them learn and understand the world around them,” Wishart says.

The 10-page lesson plan for Australian schools has been written by experts at Plan, and is being released by Plan and SchoolAid, a long established non-profit organisation whose purpose is to be the voice of kids’ giving. The lesson plan will be available to schools and teachers across the country for free.

Over four thousand schools across the country will be directly sent the resources, although any school, teacher or parent can download it from SchoolAid’s website. Two lessons for children in Years Four to Six helps them to understand Ebola and the health issues facing children around the world. They also learn about germs and communicable diseases, and how to avoid them through guided discussions and activities.

School children will also be able to raise funds for Plan’s Ebola Appeal: Kids Helping Kids. They can do this with the help of parents and teachers through SchoolAid’s crowdfunding platform for children, KidsGive.com.au

“As well as being keen to understand the facts around issues like Ebola, children in Australia are always keen to find a way to pitch in and lend a helping hand to other children around the world. That’s why SchoolAid is encouraging teachers and parents to help them raise much needed funds through KidsGive,” says Sean Gordon, SchoolAid’s founder.

A poster for schools is part of the set of resources, as is a letter to give to parents suggesting they substitute the traditional Christmas gift for teachers with a donation to help fight the Ebola crisis in West Africa.

Schools and teachers can download these resources from http://www.kidsgive.com.au/campaigns/ebola-appeal-kids-helping-kids/. They can also donate to the Ebola appeal at the same web address.

Relevant photos are available here: http://bit.ly/planebola. Please credit ‘Plan International Australia’.

Editors’ notes:
Plan is one of the oldest and largest children's development organisations in the world, founded 75 years ago, working in 50 developing countries across Africa, Asia and the Americas and supported by 21 donor countries. Plan is independent, with no religious or political affiliations.

KidsGive is Australia’s first crowdfunding platform for kids, inspired by SchoolAid, a non-profit organisation whose purpose is to grow kids philanthropy. Since SchoolAid was founded, over $4.5 million has been raised by students across Australia and distributed to child-focused programs.

Media contact: Adam Cathro, Plan International in Australia, Media Relations Manager, 0488 202 945