Students at Matthew Flinders Anglican College experienced the true act of giving when they delivered 300 kilograms of donated books and stationery to disadvantaged children on a recent trip to Manila during their July school holidays.
The eight Flinders students, a mix of girls and boys in Years 10 and 11, collected the donations over three months of fundraising with the College community in support of the Australian not-for-profit Hair Aid, and spent one week as Hair Aid team members in Manila.
Hair Aid sends teams of hairdressers to poverty stricken areas in the Philippines to work directly with people in need to teach them haircutting skills.
Since forming in 2010, Hair Aid has trained over 1,500 people to empower the participants to create a brighter future for themselves and their families through employment and business opportunities.
Flinders students supported the hairdressers in a variety of locations over the five days of the project by engaging with both the participants and their children.
Their work with the children was appreciated as it meant that the parents could focus on learning this invaluable skill.
The students connected instantly with the children, and had great fun keeping them amused with play dough, colouring-in books, songs, dancing and rolling games of basketball – even in the rain.
Two students painted a wall mural next to the preschool, featuring a colourful emu with hand prints to remind the children of all the people who cared for them through donations and well wishes in Australia.
Flinders Principal Stuart Meade said the students demonstrated immense care and compassion for the children they met, and the experience should help them to understand their potential to make a positive difference in the world.
“Our students volunteered to be a part of this program, and worked hard to collect donations to brighten the lives of these students with simple items like picture books and drawing pencils,” Mr Meade said.
“It takes courage to put yourself in uncomfortable and distressing situations, like visiting poverty-stricken neighbourhoods in developing countries, and I commend our students and their parents for committing to this project with such a positive and caring attitude.
“I also thank our Flinders teachers, Susan Lynch and Sandy Connie, for driving this important project and for guiding our students to enjoy this experience and learn first-hand about the power of compassion and service.”
Matthew Flinders Anglican College is also involved in many local community projects, including fundraising for local charities such as Team Adem, SunnyKids, the Sunshine Coast Animal Refuge, and the Vinnies Corporate Sleepout.