350 iPads available for nonverbal children to help remove barriers to education

State Schools’ Relief, a Victorian not for profit, expands their partnership with Gandel Foundation and Bank First, to provide an additional 350 iPads for non-verbal school children in 2021, to continue removing barriers to educational engagement. Back in 2018/19 the two funders enabled the distribution of 191 iPads to non verbal students in 26 specialist schools.

Bank First, in conjunction with Gandel Foundation, one of Australia’s largest independent family philanthropic funds, have donated $50k and $100k respectively to purchase the additional iPads which will be distributed to nonverbal school students attending more than 80 specialist schools throughout metro and regional Victoria.

State Schools’ Relief is a unique Victorian organisation, providing assistance through the provision of uniforms, shoes and other essential educational resources, to students identified by teachers and/or principals as being affected with the impact of material disadvantage.

Sue Karzis, CEO of State Schools’ Relief (SSR), believes that by providing nonverbal children with an iPad enables them to have their own voice at all times.

“At SSR we believe in removing barriers to education. The provision of iPads for non-verbal children in specialist schools is one way that we can ensure that no child or young person is left behind. With the generous support of Bank First and Gandel Foundation, we will be providing iPads to children and young people in need, so that we can give them the means of communication. This program will be transformational for the young people involved and SSR is proud to be able to provide this support,” she says.

CEO of Gandel Foundation, Vedran Drakulic OAM, believes it’s important to address barriers to full and unconstrained education for students with specific needs.

“The iPads for non-verbal students program not only tackles the digital divide that can leave vulnerable children behind, it also supports teachers, parents and students to use specialist technology, thus boosting communication and learning in the classroom and at home,” he says.

Adam Alsbury, Chief Strategy & Marketing Officer at Bank First said, “We are proud to help non-verbal students communicate with their families, teachers and carers through the State Schools’ Relief iPad program. As a bank founded on care and compassion, we are always pleased to support organisations and initiatives that give back to the community through the Bank First Community Fund.“

Where schools have the resources, students will be supported with individual training sessions in how to use their device to better enable them in making an impact on the world around them.

Applications for iPads will be accepted from the beginning of Term 1, 2021.


For further information, interviews or photo opportunities, please contact Chiquita Searle e: chiquita@chiquita.com.au p: 0423 686 380

About State Schools’ Relief       

Established in Elsternwick in 1930, State Schools’ Relief is a Victorian-based not for profit organisation that supports the needs of financially disadvantaged school students by providing them with new school uniforms, footwear and other essential educational resources to ensure students are able to engage in learning and strengthen their educational outcomes without barriers.

In 2019/20, SSR assisted over 70,500 children and young people in need, with the number and value of items distributed exceeding 220,000 and $8.7M respectively.

The not for profit is the only one of its kind in Australia and appointed its first female CEO, Sue Karzis, in 2018, who is driving the roll-out of SSR’s own uniform label, Student’s Choice, which enables the charity to clothe three children for the price of one.

About Gandel Foundation

Gandel Foundation is one of Australia’s largest independent family philanthropic funds. It has been the vehicle for charitable giving by the extended Gandel family since its formation as The Gandel Charitable Foundation in 1978.

John Gandel AC and Pauline Gandel AC are actively engaged in philanthropic work and are universally recognised for their generosity and commitment to both Jewish and general causes. Through Gandel Foundation, over the years they have invested over $100 million towards supporting various charitable causes in the community.

Gandel Foundation has supported State Schools Relief since 2016 with Community Grants and Major Grants focused on education inclusion and digital equity for all Victorian students.