The Kalahari Experience is a challenging and exciting trip for both the staff and students involved. From my perspective, it is always a joy to return the team of students home safely after being challenged for the better. The red sand of the Kalahari Desert stays between your toes for quite some time and brings with it a refined appreciation the world’s diversity, our blessings here in Australia, the importance of relationships and many other musings. Not only that, but the service offered to the community in the Moshaweng Valley remains as a positive impact for much longer than our stay, which is evident through our 10-year relationship with the valley.
A short reflection from Geordie 11CFI, one of the Year 11 students from the 2017 team:
"Going into the trip many people asked me what I thought it was going to be like but I didn't have many expectations and truthfully I’m really glad I didn't. Every day was a new adventure and I know for me getting up at 5am every morning actually got easier because I just wanted to go teach these extraordinary learners we had grown so close too. The days that will always stick with me are the ones where I would be explaining a concept and the learner would pick up what I was saying and I would see them applying what they'd learnt in other pieces of work. I found it extremely hard saying goodbye to the kids and the welcoming, happy, loving community that we were surrounded by every day! And even though we were teaching these learners, I was learning so much from them everyday! There are a few things I have implemented into my own life since being back, including just small things such as being grateful for all the amazing opportunities we have around us."
The students from Concordia College were exemplary. To see them integrate with the African students and just take on every challenge with enthusiasm and maturity was a privilege to watch. They are truly amazing young people.
Kalahari Experience Coordinator
During the July school holidays, five Concordia students and one staff member travelled to Cambodia alongside 36 others from Lutheran colleges across South Australia. For one week, they helped build three different homes, each a different style. The previous living conditions of these families are almost unimaginable; leaking roofs, constant sickness, an unreliable food source and little stability. They were all excited to be receiving a solid home, thinking it a dream come true. Habitat for Humanity works alongside prospective homeowners, asking them to contribute financially as well as through ‘sweat equity’, where they physically help to build their home with the volunteers.
Along with the build week, the group visited the Killing Fields, Genocide Museum, Angkor Wat temples, the Lutheran Church of Cambodia, Daughters of Cambodia and heard the story of Reaksa Himm: a survivor of the Khmer Rouge genocide. It was a full-on trip, with plenty of astounding experiences and great relationships all around. A massive thankyou to all of those who donated in support of the trip. Your kind contributions helped to support the homeowners immensely.
“As well as building this important shelter, we built connections with the families, translators, skilled workers and other community members. It was an eye-opening experience. This short time changed so many people’s lives and showed the true power of helping others.” – Tom 11LMA
“With one glance at the Habitat for Humanity brick house site, anyone could see the loving, fun, happy and friendly community. The locals, skilled workers and translators joined in building, singing and dancing. Brick lines spread from one end of the site to the other. Concrete mixing occurred all over the ground. The children playing hopscotch and other games on the dirt road. Smiley faces in every direction.” – Stephanie 11JLE
“I didn’t realise the incredible bonds we would all make with the translators, the skilled workers and the families who we built houses for. One of the leaders brought a guitar to the build site every day, and while taking a break from building, I decided to strum the few chords on guitar that I know. She came and sat opposite me, and with the help of another leader, we managed to teach her those chords. Although this was only small, it was enough to create a bond that I will never forget.” – Arielle 11MBR
A statistical overview:
- 272 people participated as walkers
- 1,400 people sponsored the walkers
- 90 people provided volunteer help
- 10 businesses donated goods
- Over $133,000 was raised
- 5,115 refugee children can now go to school!
Eight Concordia students and 13 staff participated in the Australian Lutheran World Service's Walk My Way event during the mid-year break, walking the 26 kilometres from Hahndorf to Beaumont on Tuesday 4 July. Even though the day was cold and wet, the spirits and energy were high. The opening ceremony set the scene and reminded us of why we had signed up to participate and at the end of the walk, with a hot cup of soup in hand, the realization of the day’s achievement was fantastic.
Media students performed important roles in recording the event, capturing the drenched walkers along their beautiful, colourful and rugged journey that followed in the steps of the early settler women on their journey to market.
Emma 12HRO led a video crew and other Concordia Media students captured great still images. These have been very well received as important publicity tools for the Australian Lutheran World Service activity.
Thanks goes to all who supported this event and well done to all of the participants.
Head of Media
On Tuesday morning, a group of 13 students attended a leadership workshop about the 40 Hour Famine. Led by Georgia from World Vision, they explored the topics of inequality and choice. Although here in Australia most people have the power to make choices about their lives, there are many countries in which this is sadly not the case. "Everybody should be able to make decisions about their future", Georgia explained. "Choice should not be seen as a privilege but as a right."
For this reason, the 40 Hour Backpack Challenge will focus on refugees and displaced people. Over 65.1 million people are displaced globally and more than half of these are children. In this challenge, Concordia students will live out of a backpack for 40 hours as a way of enhancing their understanding of the experiences of displaced people who are often forced to pack essential things in backpacks and leave everything they have ever known. Students will also raise money to help them to not only survive in refugee camps, but to thrive.
Our school’s donation page can be found here.
On Tuesday 27 June, students from both the St John's and the Concordia Campus met for the inaugural Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) student working group meeting. The RAP, which launched in Term 1, is an aspirational and live document that ensures our ongoing commitment to the respect and inclusion of first-nations' perspectives. The student group will assist the working group in rolling out the objectives of the plan and are responsible for communicating these objectives to staff.
We look forward to sharing our outcomes with you as we continue this significant journey.
To view a copy of the plan, click here and refer to the sections entitled “our notes”.