An online tutoring program for young people who care for sick or disabled family members has helped these ‘little’ carers continue their education and feel a sense of belonging.

Grant Type
Pitch In
Social Cohesion

The story of Little Dreamers began when Founder and CEO Madeleine (Maddy) Buchner OAM was just nine years old. She asked the very question that still drives the organisation today, “Who cares for the carers?”

Maddy grew up caring for her younger brother, who had a range of chronic illnesses, and her mother, who had breast cancer. At nine years of age, she identified a gap in the support system for young carers and began to raise awareness through fundraising events and stalls.

More than a decade later, and with more than 6,500 young people reached nationwide, Little Dreamers is Australia’s leading young carer organisation. It addresses many of the challenges faced by young carers, including participating in education, social life and employment, and experiencing poor mental and physical health.

In 2023, Jacqueline de Mamiel and Taylar Registro from Little Dreamers told the organisation’s story at the Bennelong Foundation Pitch In event. They secured $22,500 to support its Online Tutoring program. This program helps young carers stay engaged in schoolwork at the same time as balancing their caring role. It does this by mobilising a team of volunteer tutors who meet with the ‘little dreamers’ for weekly sessions.

After receiving the grant, 50 young carers were matched with tutors, and as a result 90% of students said their academic achievements had improved.

“This program is about so much more than academic achievements,” Maddy said.

“It’s about fostering a sense of belonging for every young carer and increasing their confidence and self-worth. It’s also about creating an environment where they can thrive and giving them the resources to live a healthy lifestyle.”

Thanks to the success of the program funded by Bennelong Foundation, Little Dreamers went on to secure multi-year funding to continue to provide tutoring to young carers through multiple Government contracts in NSW and Victoria.

Other programs run by Little Dreamers include school holiday programs for carers aged six or more; a five-month personal development program for carers aged 13-17; one-to-one coaching for carers aged 4-25; a weekly online peer support program for carers aged six or more; an online community forum exclusively for young carers; and Dream Experience, enabling a young carer aged 4-25 to live their dream for a day.

Read more about Little Dreamers here.

Impactful results

Making positive change

Little Dreamers has helped young carers participate in education opportunities.


More opportunities for young carers to learn, work and connect with others, and to have a voice.


Better access to the education young carers need to open pathways to future career opportunities.

It’s about fostering a sense of belonging for every young carer and increasing their confidence and self-worth.

Madeleine Buchner OAM

CEO and founder, Little Dreamers

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