In February The Smith Family emailed me about a campaign they were running titled “Tales of the One In Ten”.

I wrote about Alice and the Giant Emptiness

Now there’s a new tale to tell; David and the Big Heavy

David & the Big Heavy follows the true story of a young immigrant boy struggling to cope with a myriad of issues at home and school as his family adjusts to life in a new country. Children from disadvantaged families face a unique set of difficulties and these can weigh heavily on them and hold them back at school if the right support isn’t available.  The film attempts to capture this with David’s backpack that collects his memories and experiences, eventually becoming so heavy he is brought to his knees.

The Smith Family helps thousands of children like David every year. To children like David the first step in solving their problems is simple: Education

This is one story that really struck a chord with me. Now I was born here in Australia but my parents were migrants from Greece.

And in the 80’s terms like wog were thrown around fairly commonly. One bonus for me was that English was my first language so I could fight back with words. But the culture clash of trying to fit in at school and then going home to a very Greek family was quite stressful. Expectations between school and family often differed. There were other kids who were just like me around which helped. I think it’s fair to say it’s the one thing that helped me navigate through my confusion.

Our family were poor(ish). We had food on the table every day and weren’t about to be evicted but not much more. No really nice clothes, no holidays unless we drove to Melbourne or Adelaide to stay with relatives. Certainly no nights out for dinner – only to the Greek Social Dance.

We stayed on the right side of poor I suppose.

Having migrant parents meant trying to bridge the gap between them and the community we were living in. I was often translator for my parents (while they tried to master the English language).  I had to grow up a bit faster. Even every day things like catching the bus or train; I needed to read the signs.  I needed to read their mail.  I needed to make sure they understood the instructions on medication.

For me I guess it wasn’t the worst thing in the world because, like I said, I had security.

But for kids like David, my goodness, where do you begin?

Kids like David need to learn English.

Kids like David have to adjust to new culture.

Kids like David have to endure kids who don’t take to kindly ‘different’ people.

Kids like David have to learn to go without when others around him get so much.

Kids like David have a responsibility to their family to do well in school.

Kids like David have a responsibility to looking after siblings when parents are working.

Kids like David need to feel secure.

Kids like David aren’t allowed to be kids.

Watch this film and share it around. Start a conversation with #talesofthe1in10 and donate if you can.

As David says in the film “I would never have gotten this far on my own”.


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