Students See New World Through Eyes Wide Open

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Home > Media > News > Students See New World Through Eyes Wide Open
Students See New World Through Eyes Wide Open

Having left Tasmania as average teenage high school students, a group of Sacred Heart College staff and students have returned inspired as active global citizens.

The group recently undertook a ten day Destination Dreaming community development program in Timor-Leste.

 

“The aim of the program was to forge and develop an ongoing relationship with a junior school in the rural township of Maliana to support the development of education,” Tour organizer and Outdoor Education Teacher Matt Conolan said.

Deputy Principal (Primary) and tour participant, Sue Walker added “Prior to leaving the students were excited about the opportunity to make a difference to someone less fortunate.  What they didn’t expect was the overwhelming amount the Timorese people taught and helped them.”

Over $3000 was raised to buy computers, printers and to assist in the building of new study shelters. They also took over education resources as well as microscopes donated by Sacred Heart College for the Timorese school.

After arriving in the capital of Dili, the group traveled a significant distance through rugged but beautiful countryside to the regional district of Maliana.

The purpose of this was to undertake service-learning programs within the local schools and to experience first-hand the harmonious lifestyles and culture that is the backbone of isolated Timorese communities.

An essential part of this education included living in the everyday circumstances as experienced by the boarders of the Encouragement House, an accommodation facility which houses 120 children from outer-lying villages so that they may attend school in Maliana.

During this time, the Sacred Heart College students helped to construct a new outdoor study shelter, undertook volunteering roles in teaching teams to teach lessons in English at a local junior high school and visited various senior secondary educational facilities.

Through participation in the Destination Dreaming program, the students have not only returned with a deeper understanding of the daily hardships faced by their Timorese peers, but a greater appreciation for life and their education here in Australia.

“I grew so much as a person, developing more appreciation for my life at home and the people I love. The passion of the Timorese students to learn and to get an education has inspired me to do my best and not to take my education for granted,” said Lauren Walker

Zack Harris agreed, saying what he learnt on his Destination Dreaming program to Timor-Leste is very hard to explain.

“I basically learnt a whole new way of seeing and thinking about the world. I would recommend anyone doing this program as it helps you become a better person and discover the person you really want to be”.

Matt Conolan said that as an Outdoor Education teacher he works with young people to build their resilience and connection to the environment and their community.

“I have worked with other organizations offering global travel experiences, but I have never come across a more powerful opportunity that combines global citizenship and personal development as offered by Destination Dreaming. Our students will never be the same again”.

Destination Dreaming Program manager Mr. Clint Miller said “The program was a huge success for all parties involved especially the local community in Maliana.”

“The Sacred Heart community should be proud of their young ambassadors, as what they achieved in ten days was remarkable.”

He said a big factor in the sustainable success of these programs comes from strictly working with schools that are committed to on-going community partnerships.