Sight that broke beautiful Jonti’s heart
A 12-YEAR-old Central Queensland girl wants to bring a smile to the face of farmers who are suffering through the dry conditions.
Jonti Withers, who has grown up in Emerald, recently visited her grandparents in Blackall and was overwhelmed by dead stock, dry creeks, bare paddocks and the talk of debt from the lack of rain.
She said the situation broke her heart "into little pieces", which was when she decided to use her love of dance, modelling, fashion and photography to create an event, with all profits to go to Drought Angels.
The Marist College student wants to use her passion for fashion to make a difference to the lives of Queensland farmers who "have nothing to give their kids for Christmas".
"I got to talk to the people and see how beat their faces were, their talk of debt overtaking them, people taking their own lives to try get money to save the farms for their families, people talking about shooting stock that are falling everywhere and absolutely no help from the government in any way," she said.
After talking to her mum, Suszanne, Jonti came up with the idea of a catwalk fundraiser, featuring children from across the Central Highlands region.
She is calling on dance clubs, models, photographers, sporting clubs, schools, community groups and venues to jump on board and get involved to create an event that will benefit families across the region.
"I realise this (Drought Angels) is not just in the Central Highlands region, but it's not just our farmers battling or putting produce on our tables, it's very wide spread," Jonti said.
"I have a dream we can all make a difference and by pulling together we might just put a smile on some very desperate people's faces and give them back hope knowing we as Australians do care and we are willing to help our own when things are down and out.
"The one thing I already know is the compassion of the people here and I have always felt proud to say I'm a bush kid."
Suszanne said she completely supported Jonti's venture and was proud that such a young girl was so passionate about improving the lives of others.
"Her wanting to help others makes me believe she is being brought up with the right values in life and makes me proud of her for trying to do something for others when times are so bad," she said.
"I think it's important to teach our kids that life can be hard but you can always do something to help someone out, show compassion, to lend that helping hand when times are tough."
The event is open to support from all types of businesses and organisations across the region.
To get involved or for more information on how to help, email Jonti at email@example.com or call Ms Withers, 0488 787 971.