When a family goes on holiday, long-lasting and treasured memories are created.
However, statistics show that one in three Australian children have never been on one.
That’s where the Magical Getaway Foundation comes in.
The charity gifts fully-funded first ever holidays to eligible children and their families. In return, the recipients share their story with the foundation.
Domestic violence survivor Annalise Tumbas shared her story to some 70 people who gathered at foundation’s inaugural social tourism forum on Friday 19 October.
During the forum – Every Suitcase has a Story – the crowd was shown a video featuring ambassadors actor Kat Stewart and Olympic gold medallist Steven Bradbury plus some of the foundation’s first ever holiday recipients.
Kat also interviewed Annalise Tumbas, who holidayed in Lorne with her four of her five sons.
Annalise explained how she was unable to afford a family holiday after moving from house to house.
She said the trip to Lorne in the winter school holidays had been an amazing experience.
“It’s nice to be able to go away because the dynamics of them getting along is even completely different to what they are at home… it’s been wonderful,” she said.
Annalise said she never thought she’d see her boys run down to the beach in the middle of winter.
She also said the things her boys had learned on the trip had been “invaluable.”
“It’s important for them and I think they’ll never forget it,” she said.
Pakenham girl Mikayla Wade received a certificate of appreciation at the forum in recognition of the handmade teddy bears she has donated to the charity.
The teddies play a special message when squeezed: “You’re amazing. Believe in yourself and never give up.”
The Magical Getaway Foundation is the only Australian charity dedicated to social tourism, which means providing access to breaks away from home for people who would otherwise be excluded.
Research indicates that holidays benefit individuals and society because they improve well-being and reduce stress, increase self-esteem and confidence, strengthen family communication and bonding, provide new skills, widen perspectives and enhance employability. Going on holiday also gives long-lasting, treasured memories and results in happier, stronger families and decreases social isolation.