AHVISE Podcast Ep 01: How AHVISE Helps Aussie Kids Education In Rural & Remote Areas


Transcript below: 

KATE: Hi everyone, this is Kate and this is our first podcast show for AHVISE, and today Lyn French and I are going to have a very brief chat about AHVISE. What we do in AHVISE, how we help families around Australia and remote and rural areas and how the volunteers get involved. So I hope you enjoy listening to us, I guess just chat really and hopefully get a feel for what we’re about and why we do what we do. Thanks for listening.

KATE: Hi everyone, it’s Kate here and I’m with Lyn today. Lyn French. How are you going Lyn?

LYNN FRENCH: I am very good thank you. How’s your day?

KATE: My day is fantastic because in Melbourne, it’s nice and hot weather, which I know you Queenslanders have the benefit of all the time, as opposed to us poor Melbanites. But anyway, what have you been doing today? You’ve been on the farm or?

LYNN FRENCH: Today, I have been extremely busy pumping water for cows and as soon as it gets too hot I venture inside and do my paperwork and try and catch up with AHVISE stuff.

KATE: So how many cows you got there?

LYN FRENCH: Because of the drought over the last seven years we’ve destocked, destocked, destocked. So we’re only running about two and a half thousand at the moment.

KATE: Oh, that sounds like a lot to me though. So it wasn’t used to be a lot more than that, I guess?

LYN FRENCH:  Yeah, roughly round about four. But, yeah we like to sort of be a bit conservative so.

KATE: Right, right. Makes it easier to keep them going, I guess if there’s less of them. So, let’s talk about AHVISE just for a moment because I know that you came to Brian and that was great about AHVISE and really you came from the point of view of working with VISE is that right? And then you sort of said, look there’s an opportunity here to run this program in a bigger way and your vision for that. So, tell me a bit about that journey coming from VISE to AHVISE.

LYN FRENCH: So yeah, VISE started roughly 29 years ago. My connection with it as a mum on a Cattle Station having to teach the kids I had no idea, limited education and I was struggling like many other moms out there.

KATE: Right

LYN FRENCH: So I got involved with VISE I become a recipient and then become a coordinator and then became on admin. Which I sat on admin for 28 years before it closed down. I approached him about taking over, taking VISE over when it was discussed about closing it. But that wasn’t an option.

So when they closed it I’ve just thought there was so many families out there that really, really needing help with education. There’s a lot of mums out there that haven’t had a great deal of education, and also mum ring out, helping Dad on station and all the other jobs that they do. So I said about making a plan of starting a new organization. I knew that I needed funding and yeah, you just can’t (inaudible). So I approached Brian Egan from Aussie-Helpers, and my first sentence, Brian said, yeah how much money do you need? And yeah it’s sort of been a roller coaster ride. It’s just gone from strength to strength. So just extremely happy and excited for my family.

KATE: I do get excited because we’re such an awesome team, aren’t we? But it wasn’t like that at first, at first we were kind of finding our feet, weren’t we? And we we’re kind of trying to work out what had to happen and where and who and we kind of went through a transition, but I’m really happy with where we’re at now. Would you agree, is that?

LYN FRENCH: I certainly do agree. I felt a little bit of frustration because when I first started. I knew exactly what I wanted to happen but taking little bits and pieces of VISE and creating a new one. But I suppose I sort of thought a lot of people thought like we do in the bush, and but here we’ve overcome that. I’m just excited that everyone on the chain is just so great, pulling together and like I said it’s just gone strength to strength, it’s it’s amazing.

KATE: Yeah, we get along well so when we brought along the VA’s I was really picky about who they were because I said unless they really nice people. I don’t even want them in the organization, because there’s nothing worse than working with someone who doesn’t have the, I don’t know, the good heart, good personality you know and so…

Kate: [Ad Break] you can visit our website at www.ahvise.org.au.

I get that it’s for families on farms, would you say it’s just any family on a remote property? Or it has to be a farm? I mean, how did they deal with that on VISE? Was it just anything goes or are there kind of restrictions or?

LYN FRENCH: Um, there was certainly restrictions when VISE was going but I don’t really want to go there. We’re a whole new concept, AHVISE. We cater for any rural and [remote] children. It doesn’t mean whether they’re on a farm, a deserted island, aboriginal community, it doesn’t matter where they are in rural or remote Australia. If we’ve got someone to help, we’ll send them there.

KATE: Okay. And because they don’t have to go there now do they. We’ve set it up now that they can do it online, isn’t there? Like on Skype or whatever.

LYN FRENCH: As long as it’s rural and remote.

KATE: Okay. So and I think the other thing is that, I think this is the pertinent point, is that if AHVISE are involved, we do all the background checks. We make sure there’s insurance on board or whatever so because I know at one stage there was some volunteers and families who said ‘Oh we can just work it out ourselves’ and I said ‘Well, if you do that then there’s no travel refund, there’s no insurance there’s no – you know, you just do it on your own. That’s fine. But the whole point of having AHVISE is that we can do those background checks properly, we can help you if there’s issues. You know we can actually be far more involved and help, you know get the right person for the right match and would you agree? Is that? That’s the main benefit isn’t it?

LYN FRENCH: Yes, so before a tutor goes to a family, they have a  blue card check up to date and they sit underneath our Aussie Helpers umbrella for insurance. The families don’t have to pay anything due to the considerable amount of donations that we received last year. So we’re able to pass that on to families. But the tutors are able to put into a claim with their receipts for fuel subsidy as well.

KATE: Yeah, and we’ve built the website really as the hub. So this is where they go to register, whether you’re a family or whether you’re a volunteer. This is where you submit your application. If you’re a volunteer, this is where you submit your ad for the placement if you’re a family. It’s all around that website and our VA’s and Lynn and myself we all work from that website that’s the hub and it’s kind of like an online business. But it’s not a business but anyway, it’s got a lot of dimensions to it certainly, and I know Nadege runs the social media page and so when it comes to donations, there’s two ways I think we get money and to support the program. One is where we go after corporate sponsorship, which is always a great way to go because it tends to be a larger amount for a less of a reach. You know, you can write a letter to say for instance, I don’t know, a book company, a Queensland based book company and you can say you know, if you donate 5000, we’ll put you on our webpage and you can kind of do it like sponsorship almost. But then of course there’s the mass market which is just people who just genuinely want to you know, send $5, $10, $20 towards helping out. Now, those people can just go to our website and make a donation direct can’t they?

LYN FRENCH: They can and, everything is tax deductible of course

KATE: Right

LYN FRENCH: But I think – if we can really stress that point you know that the donation that (that) anybody, whether it’s a company or a single person or big corporate that their donation is helping educate our youth of the agricultural industry and without our rural youth/s, they are the future of our food security. So, it’s doing (a) great job in educating our, helping educate our young people who deserve (an) equal education the same as our city cousins.

KATE: Absolutely and to be fair I have worked with Aussie Helpers for a few years now and a lot of the time when people – when I liaise with them through donations, setting up and things like that they’ll say to me, ‘I just want to make sure I’m helping a family directly’. So, the thing with AHVISE is if you put it into that fund then that goes to that program specifically for helping education and the running costs of it.

So the reality is that it is a really direct way to say that’s a difference I want to make and you can do it. But, you know sometimes you don’t get your charity and you might put in $100 and you don’t really know where it’s going or what difference it’s going to make or what impact. So this is that choice that people can make you know and I know that Aussie have got their other program, the virtual psychologist pro- is the same thing. If you’re really passionate about mental health issues, you would probably want to donate to that one, right? So, you know.

Lyn French: That’s right

Kate:  Yeah, exactly. So that’s the exciting thing about it too. So, because Aussie keep the records very separate, so that they know what’s going on where. So that’s good. I’m glad you brought that up. I know that this year, we’re going to go after some corporate funds, you know, I guess at the end the day if it helps us attract more volunteers and it helps us you know, cover their costs that’s awesome. And I think that now that we’ve waived the fee for the families which is just amazing I’m so happy. So I – that’s where the donations go and that’s the main thing that people can understand, I guess you got anything to add to that or?

LYN FRENCH: I don’t think so, I just you know if anybody’s listening to this, please go and have a look at our website www.ahvise.org.au, and if you would like to be helping rural and remote kids education, please nominate as a volunteer, please you will be greatly appreciated.

KATE: Look, and you know what we will do another podcast not right now but on the ideal volunteer and a few of their stories and we’ll also do another one on families and who we’ve made an impact on with AHVISE and what our goals are there. So, but I really just wanted to cover in this quick podcast who we are, what we’re doing, how we’re doing it and I think we’ve covered that because I’ve talked about how we revolve around the website, how everyone comes there to register or if you want to be part of it and you don’t want to volunteer, you can still donate and you can still spread the word about what we’re doing. So if you’ve got a social media account share our link, you know just to get the word out there so we said what – whose AHVISE and you’ve really covered why we’re doing it and that’s to help rural. I love that you said we do anyone, everywhere because I didn’t know that I thought it was just farming, so that’s exciting because that means more.

LYN FRENCH: Well, we’ve got last year and this year, we’ve got tutors going to Vanderlin Island.

KATE: Okay.

LYN FRENCH: Vanderlin Island, it’s out – off in the territory and its indigenous community.

KATE: Right

LYN FRENCH: We’ve been helping there ever since we started. Yeah,  look it’s any rural and remote kids educational needs we’re there to help.

KATE: Right, right.

LYN FRENCH: And – well people say you know what’s rural and remote? Well you know, if somebody’s just pulled their kid out of school because they felt like it, we don’t really sort of help that situation we’re, we’re about the rural and remote.

KATE: Okay, so let me give you a question say would you consider Ayers Rock, rural and remote or would you call that a town? So that’s where I’m trying to define you know?

LYN FRENCH: Where? but you know Ayers Rock if it’s in the town, no I don’t –

KATE: Okay.

LYN FRENCH: – class that, so in this community out of Ayers Rock, like you know 200km’s, yes I do plus that.

KATE: And so is that because they can’t get to a school? So is that basically because they can’t get to a school you consider that rural and remote? Yeah.

LYN FRENCH: Yeah, so our kids that we help they’re geographically isolated and there’s no other choice but to educate at home.

KATE: Okay.

[Ad Break] You can visit our website at www.ahvise.org.au

KATE: That’s what we’re doing, we’ve talked about that we help them tutor. We’ll talk about that in another podcast.

LYN FRENCH: Excellent, righto.

KATE: Okay, thanks love. Bye now.

KATE: Okay, and that was Lynn French from AHVISE and I’m Kate and we’re signing off. We look forward to seeing you on the next podcast, next story and whenever we’re doing our thing. Okay, bye now.