A group of Brisbane Grammar School students are rolling up their sleeves to help families fleeing domestic violence by fitting out empty homes with furniture and homely touches.
Five students, involved in the School’s Gender Respect Project Group, dedicated a Saturday to decking out emergency accommodation with beds, cupboards, cabinets, whitegoods and food for a family in need.
Armed with drills, hammers and nails, the boys learnt on the job as they collaborated to read flatpack instructions and piece together furniture.
The project is part of the School’s partnership with community-driven organisation RizeUP, which provides practical assistance and support to families affected by violence.
Not only did the students offer their time and muscle power, but they spent a term intensely selling Freddos and two supersized blocks of Cadbury chocolate, weighing 10 kilograms each.
The boys managed to reach their target of raising $5000 – the cost of a fit out. This money will go towards funding future fit-out projects. As their fundraising efforts continue, students have set a goal to revamp a home in each term of 2024.
“They loved the physical work of putting the beds together, and they took their time to decide where certain items should go,” Student Welling Programs Director Ms Philippa Douglas said.
Showing their sensitive side, students spent time discussing and deciding on where to place Bluey pyjamas and toys in a child’s bedroom, and they also left a handwritten note for the family.
It read: “Welcome to your new home. We hope you are happy in your new space and wish you all the best. It was a pleasure to create this home for you.”
“It was just really beautiful,” Ms Douglas said.
Earlier in the year, RizeUp’s Meryl McKenzie held a workshop with the students, highlighting the importance of removing stigma, silence and shame around domestic violence.
“The boys really engaged with Ms McKenzie, and she gave the boys a good understanding of the painful realities of domestic violence and victim blaming.”
The project closely aligns with the School’s Protect and Connect Program, which offers curriculum on Respectful Relationships and Healthy Sexuality.
“This connection highlights the significance of what we're doing, and how it contributes to our broader objectives,” Ms Douglas said.