Sometimes in life we all need a helping hand.

St Albans brothers Tizazu (13) and Efriem (9) have had to fight to earn everything they’ve achieved.

Born in Ethiopia, the two moved to St Albans three years ago to begin a new life with their uncle and aunt after their parents died.

The boys’ aunt Hewote Yabio said starting a new life wasn’t easy.

“At the start it was hard. They weren’t eating much and couldn’t sleep but after about a year they settled in,” Ms Yabio said.

“For the little one the biggest struggle was the language barrier. He’d never been to school back home and would get annoyed because he couldn’t understand people, but he’s progressed quickly.

“The older one was already in grade 3 when he moved here and already had an established way of doing things, so adjusting was a struggle.”

Through hard work and determination, the boys have begun making enormous strides in their education. However the financial burden of sending two extra children to school weighed heavily on Ms Yabio.

While there’s still some struggles, Ms Yabio has found some much-needed support from the Smith Family’s Back to School campaign.

The campaign aims to help families struggling to cover the cost of sending children to school.

Ms Yabio said the program made the world of difference.

“When the kids are in primary school you don’t feel it as much because things like the uniform aren’t as expensive, but last week I spent nearly $250 on uniform and it was only for summer. If you’ve got three kids it’s almost $1000,” she said.

But it’s not just financial help, the organisation’s homework club also is proving to be a huge benefit.

“Before starting the homework club the boys couldn’t read for even 20 minutes, now they can read as long as they like without distraction,” Ms Yabio said.

“They meet every Thursday for 90 minutes and on top of doing their homework, they get to make friends outside of school.”

Efriem will continue his primary school education this year, while for Tizazu it’s once again the beginning of a new chapter as he embarks on secondary school.

To learn more about the program visit: