49 Swan Christian Education Association (SCEA) Students, along with 16 staff, have returned from the annual Leavers 2 Leaders service trip to the Philippines.
Year 11 and 12 Students from Southern Hills Christian College, Swan Christian College and Ellenbrook Christian College spent two weeks serving in remote communities, participating in cultural exchanges at Filipino schools, and learning about life in a developing country.
“Leavers 2 Leaders has grown to one of our largest international programs, both in terms of students on the trip and the number of areas we impact”, said Mr. Giles Creelman, Projects and Initiatives Manager at SCEA.
“The trip is focussed on service and so the three school groups, which visited three separate communities, were fully immersed in the culture – and work – of the local people.
“By participating in livelihood projects, they saw what local people did to make a living, and how hard they had to work to earn in a week what some students would earn in an hour in part time jobs.
“This counter-cultural program operates over the traditional ‘schoolies’ weeks, and provides our students the opportunity to be other-person-focussed and give back at the end of their schooling, as an alternative to other leavers activities”, he said.
After arriving in to Bacolod, Negros Occidental, the Philippines, the three groups visited the VMA Global Training Centre, a large local school and were greeted with a guard of honour of uniformed students, a marching band, and hundreds of friendly local students ready to buddy with them for the day.
Together with local buddies, the students participated in firefighting and ‘abandon ship’ simulations at VMA’s leading maritime training complex.
"It was amazing meeting my buddy and getting to know them,” said Ben, a Year 12 student from Southern Hills Christian College.