For many children of the 80's, 90's and 00's, Healthy Harold was a yearly highlight in the school year. Somehow, this puppet giraffe made learning about the body, hygiene and our very first intro to sex education somewhat bearable.
Sadly, earlier this week Life Education Australia (the 35 year organisation behind our yellow buddy Harold) announced that the Australian Government were defunding their programs. In their release, they explained they had been seeking $500,000 for three years in the 2017/18 Budget, but the government quietly cut that to zero, for the first time in "literally decades".
So what does this mean? David Ballhausen, CEO of Life Education Australia, elaborates:
"The Australian Governments defunding decision will require us to materially revise our expectations of what is achievable in the short to medium term. While it will be challenging for us, this cut will be most felt by the many children and their teachers and parents in school communities right across Australia that will now be denied access to our program."
Listen to Kinderling Conversation's memories:
The backlash to the news has been incredible, with people jumping onto their social pipes in outrage.
Healthy Harold is a goddamn Australian hero. Who else is going to teach kids about drugs in the back of a dark van?!! pic.twitter.com/WEGLiKfuwP— Jenna Guillaume (@JennaGuillaume) May 30, 2017
I can't believe men in suits murdered Happy Healthy Harold— Danaella Wivell (@DanaellaWivell) May 30, 2017
However! There could be good news ahead. Education Minister Simon Birmingham has backtracked somewhat, tweeting last night that the government will ensure the program continues.
We support #HealthyHarold & will work with Life Education Australia to ensure the funding & the program continues— Simon Birmingham (@Birmo) May 30, 2017
Teaching children about healthy lifestyle choices, from exercise to drug use to sex education, it's no denying that the Life Education program is a positive in the lives of 640,000 children across the country from preschool to high school ages.
Let's hope the government follows through. We'll keep you updated as the story develops!
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