Brisbane Students to Become International Volunteers
23 May 2011 at 2:46 pm
A number of Brisbane students are preparing to roll up their sleeves to help build new schools for cyclone ravaged Vanuatu – the project described as a significant move for Faith Lutheran College to focus its attention on a community abroad.
The students are preparing to exchange their pens and text books for hammers and nails to literally help build schools in Vanuatu for children living in third world conditions.
For many of the students of Faith Lutheran College in Redlands the journey will be their first ever trip outside of Australia.
However, according to the school it’s a project that the students are deeply passionate about and have instigated themselves, after noticing the appalling conditions children the same age face, living in cyclone ravaged Vanuatu communities.
Grade 11 student Annameika Mole actively campaigned for her school to be involved in the project.
Mole says she and her fellow students heard that students there don’t have books, paper or even proper classrooms to learn in, something that is quite confronting having grown up in a school like theirs that is never without such basic supplies.
Students have not only managed to fund their own flights to the country, but have also dedicated afternoons, weekends and school holidays to fundraising in Brisbane, and raised $8,000 to cover the costs of the building supplies they will bring with them.
Their goal is to raise a total of $12, 000 to create at least two classrooms during their time there.
Carlee Johnston, one of the supervising teachers who will lead the group of 37 to Vanuatu in June says she is proud of the responsibility her students have taken for the trip which offers them a truly hands on experience and important life lesson.
Not only a first for many students, the project is also a significant move for Faith Lutheran College Redlands which has been looking to focus its attention on a community abroad in addition to the local community programmes it runs in Brisbane.
Johnston says that already the school has implemented classes dedicated to learning about the customs, culture and conditions of Vanuatu, with grade two students writing letters to pen pals now with the hope that in ten years they will be able to meet their foreign friends.
The school has invited one of the first government ministers of Vanuatu, mission worker Father Luke Dini to share his knowledge of these communities with the Brisbane students.
Having spent his life improving educational conditions for local communities, Father Dini believes that this trip will not only benefit the lives of Vanuatu children but also provide a really valuable experience for the visiting students.
Pro Bono Australia has invited the students to write about their experiences as international volunteers on their return.