This drought relief starts with jokes

Kidding for drought

Kidding About For Drought

A lot of fundraising involves adults working on behalf of children– attending committee meetings, or rocking up for the Saturday barbecues. Sometimes it’s just easier to do the work yourself rather than to delegate, or train others. In this article, we look at a small rural school doing things a bit differently. They’re running a project called ‘Kidding About For Drought‘, developing the entrepreneurial skills of their students and providing drought relief for farmers at the same time.

1 April 2015 marked the 2 year anniversary of drought declarations made in 10 council areas across Western Queensland. Farmers are struggling to sell cattle and sheep because they haven’t been able to grow feed. Drought eats away at the financial, physical and mental health of communities. The effects ripple out from farmers to rural towns and businesses. Sometimes the effects are disappointing or embarrassing: not being able to celebrate important family milestones, or going without toiletries. Sometimes they are tragic – including suicide and bankruptcy. When the principal of Booyal Central State school, Dawn Dolinski, told her students about the effects of the drought, the kids decided to take action. They wanted to show farmers they weren’t alone.


Drought relief

Booyal Central State School is the primary school for the farming community of Booyal, north-west of Hervey Bay. 31 students attend the 2-classroom school. Their idea was to make and sell a DVD of jokes, called ‘Kidding About for Drought’. The students want to make people laugh while at the same time, relieving a bit of financial pressure on farmers. Anyone can send a joke in and there’s a good chance it will be included in the DVD, as long as it’s appropriate for kids. Although the project is student-directed, the kids weren’t left to figure things out alone. They formed a group called the Booyal Bunyips, made up of grades 3, 4, 5 & 6 students. The Bunyips turned to the Academy for Young Entrepreneurs for guidance on how to plan projects, as well as how to build and promote a business. Dawn Dolinski has also been instrumental in mentoring the students, passing on her previous experience in running small businesses.

The Bunyips have been involved throughout the process, from making clips of themselves, appearing on tv, to drawing the design for the DVD cover. The results for the students have been positive. As well as experiencing the value of helping others, they told of how excited they were to learn about running a business, standing in front of a camera to tell jokes (which took a bit of practice), dealing with nerves, persistence, teamwork and thinking out-of-the-box.

The Bunyips used social media and word of mouth to build community awareness. Students say that people have been keen to be involved, and news has spread widely because ‘Kidding About For Drought’ is different from many other appeals, and fun too. People from all over Queensland have sent in clips for the drought relief appeal, including celebrities and students from other schools. The project has appeared on tv, radio and in the newspaper.


the Booyal Bunyips: 'Kidding About For Drought'


This is just one of the projects in the pipeline for the Bunyips. As all of Booyal’s kids live on properties, they see the importance of practical skills firsthand. They’re looking forward to working in groups of 2-3 students with a mentor to create their own businesses. In the meantime, there’s a Kidding About For Drought website being built to sell the DVD!

How can you get involved in ‘Kidding About For Drought’?

  • E-mail a video clip of yourself telling a joke or email a photo and your favourite joke. The deadline has been extended to July 8th. Have a look at the Booyal Central State School Facebook page for details.
  • Buy the DVD when it is released – and spread the word. The Bunyips are hoping to release it in the middle of next term (mid-July/start of August).
  • Don’t forget the farmers!


We asked Booyal students for their tips on telling jokes:

  • Say them clearly
  • Make sure they are funny
  • Use a loud voice
  • Give it some ‘oomph’ and try to take it up a notch

And without giving the DVD away, a few favourites:

What sort of jokes do farmers like? Corny ones

How did the farmer find his wife? He ‘tractor’ down! J

Fundraising Directory would like to thank Dawn Dolinski, Janis Ilett and the Booyal Central State School students for all their time and effort in assisting us to put this article together!