Al­ter­na­tive think­ing

Avon Valley Gazette - - NEWS -

LEAVERS in search of a mean­ing­ful way to mark the end of an era at school will travel over­seas on Sun­day for an ad­ven­ture in a de­vel­op­ing coun­try.

Stu­dents se­lected for an al­ter­na­tive leavers pro­gram in Ti­mor- Leste will help re­fur­bish a youth centre in the re­mote vil­lage of Hauba.

Ro­tary Kalamunda vi­cepres­i­dent Fiona McFar­lance said the two- week stay would pro­vide time to climb a moun­tain, swim un­der a wa­ter­fall and teach the Ti­morese vil­lagers how to play Aussie Rules.

“The stu­dents will live in ba­sic con­di­tions and eat the same meals as Ti­morese peo­ple, which mostly con­sist of rice, veg­eta­bles and a lit­tle chicken, usu­ally cooked on a fire on the floor of a build­ing,” she said.

“It’s a huge im­mer­sion in cul­ture and the stu­dents’ de­brief in Dar­win be­fore re­turn­ing to Perth is a time of in­tense re­flec­tion, shar­ing of hopes, dreams and re­assess­ment of val­ues.”

Up to 14 stu­dents are se­lected for the pro­gram each year.

“We look for out­go­ing young peo­ple who like to work in a team and help oth­ers,” she said.

Kalamunda Ro­tary pro­vides fund­ing for the com­mu­nity project each year, with each stu­dent and their par­ents con­tribut­ing $ 2500 to­wards the trip.

The al­ter­na­tive leavers pro­gram is of­fered through high schools in the City of Kalamunda and this year’s suc­cess­ful stu­dents are from Kalamunda Se­nior High School, St Brigid’s and Mazenod Col­leges.

Leavers in­ter­ested in the 2018 trip are asked to com­plete an ap­pli­ca­tion form early in the year, with stu­dent in­ter­views in May.

A camp later in the year gives stu­dents time to learn more about Ti­morese cul­ture, lan­guage and his­tory, and also par­tic­i­pate in team- build­ing ex­er­cises.

Cof­fee from Ti­morese vil­lages is sold through­out the year by Ro­tary Kalamunda and stu­dents at the monthly mar­kets in Kalamunda.

A Ti­morese fam­ily shows stu­dents how to make an out­door oven.

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