Girls Academy is excited to announce a new partnership with Optus that will help break down the digital divide.
As part of its groundbreaking Donate Your Data program, Optus is offering prepaid mobile plans to almost 3000 Girls Academy students.
The Donate Your Data SIM cards come with unlimited national talk and text and 10GB of data per month, with extra data donated by Optus customers.
Girls Academy CEO and founder Ricky Grace said the donation would be life changing.
“I am delighted to be partnering with Optus in this wonderful initiative,” he said. “This extraordinary support taps into the heart of our program — the need to build strong connections so that we can empower our students to finish their education.”
Mr Grace said COVID-19 had only accentuated the disparities in access to education and educational support, including the internet. “The SIM cards will enable the girls to stay in better contact with Academy mentors, as well as support them with their studies.”
Balga Girls Academy student Brae Collett, who had no access to the internet at home, said the SIM card had already proved invaluable, helping her to study for her driving test.
“For my mental wellbeing, it helps me not stress so much about what I have to get done while at school,” she said. “It helps out a lot at home, too. Mum’s been unwell so I can just call the doctor for her, and then I know when the appointment is, and I can also go online and book.”
Fellow Year 10 student Jorja Garlett said the SIM card had arrived at a very handy time.
“I just got a job and I’m always running out of credit and data, so this is very convenient,” she said. “It’s also good for when I need help with assignments; I can just research without running out of data or worrying about having a place to connect. If I’m not up to date, I can just email a teacher to see if I can work something out.”
Girls Academy general manager operations (west) Narelle Henry said the impact on students’ health and wellbeing would be significant, too.
“The pandemic has reinforced how important it is to stay connected with one another. This is particularly important for our at-risk students, who need us more than ever,” she said. “The girls also need to be in regular contact with their friends, so that they don’t feel cut off. It’s the strength of the relationships that ensure they keep returning to school.”
Optus Director — Group Sustainability Helen Maisano said Optus was committed to breaking down the digital divide for young Australians.
“In today’s digital world, work and study is increasingly reliant on the internet and without it many young people living in disadvantage are unable to access the same resources and opportunities as the majority of Australians,” she said.
“Data is something we can take for granted. However, for many young Australians accessing the internet to help with studying, or even staying connected with the world around them, is a real challenge.
“Donate Your Data helps to close that digital divide for young Australians living in disadvantage and, with the support of our customers who are donating their excess data, we are providing internet access to young people who need it most.”
Since the program’s launch on 2 December 2019, more than 300,000 Optus customers have donated in excess of 1.3 million GB of data, benefiting thousands of young people around Australia. Find out more and donate your own data.
Julie Hosking, Girls Academy communications specialist: 0497 777 324
Adrian Digiacomo, Optus Corporate Affairs: 0403 122 340