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You Can Now Donate Your Mobile Data To Young Aussies Who Don't Have Internet Access For School

A new initiative is encouraging thousands of Aussies to lend a helping hand to disadvantaged young Australians by giving them access to the internet for school and job searching.

The Optus-led initiative will allow eligible Postpaid and Prepaid customers to donate some of their own data to more than 13,000 students across Australia who live in circumstances of financial disadvantage.

The telecommunications giant is promising to hand out free SIM cards which include unlimited national standard talk and text and 10GB data to young Australians in need.

Under the new 'Donate Your Data' initiative, that 10GB of existing data will be topped up with any extra data that is donated by Optus customers.

Optus Deputy CEO, Kelly Bayer Rosmarin said for the 1.1 million young Australians living in poverty, accessing the internet and staying connected can be a real challenge, particularly when it comes to study and searching for jobs.

"For many of us, data is something we take for granted," Rosmarin said.

"We believe all Australians should be able to stay connected and not feel disadvantaged."

Optus will work alongside The Smith Family and the KARI Foundation for the campaign, initially providing the service to at least 13,000 young Australians.

"This includes young people, those experiencing homelessness, people facing domestic violence, and people living in disadvantage and seeking a job," Rosmarin said.

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Smith Family CEO Dr Lisa O'Brien said lack of access for disadvantaged youth was a real problem, adding that 30 percent of people in the organisation's Learning for Life program do not have access to reliable internet at home.

"In today’s world getting homework or school projects done is much more difficult without the internet," she said.

O'Brien hopes the initiative will address the "fundamental education challenge" experienced by young people and their families who live with financial disadvantage.  

Image: Getty

The KARI Foundation, the largest Aboriginal foster care agency in the country, is also getting behind the initiative.

CEO Casey Ralph said it will allow the organisation to support young Indigenous people's ability to achieve, thrive and belong.

“Staying connected is important for mental wellbeing, education outcomes and an ability to inspire our future leaders," Ralph said.

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The initiative has also gained the support of 2018 Australian Local Hero Award recipient Eddie Woo.

Woo, a Sydney-based maths teacher whose Youtube maths videos shot to fame is now an ambassador for the Donate Your Data initiative.

"Throughout my career, I have seen the big difference the internet can make to a child’s education," Woo said.

The initiative kicks off on Monday with eligible Optus customers encouraged to donate using their My Optus App.

Contact the author: vgerova@networkten.com.au