With less than two months until Leavers 2 Leaders 2016 jets out from Perth Airport with 60 passengers in tow, we want to focus on the great work that has been done in the Philippines communities that we support in the leadup to this historic trip.
The greatest impact has been in Sagay, a community that has been blessed by SCEA Global advocacy.
On the island of Negros, in the central region of the Philippines, the city of Sagay provides many jobs for its people through the harvesting of sugar cane crops and fishing of marine life. In December 2015, students and teachers from Swan Christian College in Perth, Western Australia spent a week in the community living with families and experiencing rural life in the Philippines.
The trip was part of the Leavers2Leaders program, an annual service-based initiative that sees three schools from Australian school group SCEA travel to the Philippines.
But this trip was more than just a visit. One year earlier, another Leavers2Leaders group had come to this small township of Purok Bangkal and heard of the devastation caused by Typhoon Yolanda.
As the students carried out the daily work, and fished with the locals, they had the opportunity to use a newly built facility that was dedicated to improving the cooking and food preparation facilities for these Filipino people. The main food in this community is the danggit fish, which is caught in abundance by local fishermen in banka boats.
The building was funded by the Australian Aid DAP grant process, and its aim is to improve the livelihood and sanitation for the 90 families that live in Purok Bangkal. With the building completed in Aug 2015 , the Swan Christian College visit gave students the opportunity to catch and clean fish for themselves.
They also learnt that the facility was constructed as a result of a group of community volunteers who had partnered with Australian school group SCEA to advocate for a communal facility using federal aid funding from the Australian government.
It was built over four weeks by local builders under Australian Aid guidelines, and it serves as the muster point in the case of emergencies and natural disasters. Students learnt that the selling price for these fish is ten cents and the daily living allowance for these locals is 3 Australian Dollars.
They learnt about the drying facility, which dries the fish using a charcoal fire and exhaust system. This facility provides improved employment opportunities for these rural workers recovering from the devastation caused by the typhoon. It forms part of a broader community plan to enable the people of Sagay to help themselves, and demonstrates the ability of SCEA to advocate for students and families on a global scale – starting in one community in the Philippines.
Stay tuned for more information regarding our 2016 trip soon!