The Easter holidays saw SCEA CEO Neil David and Linda Roney (Founder, Sunlight of the Dawn charity donations) travel with Sothern Hills Principal Paul Beacham and Leavers2Leaders Facilitator Giles Creelman to the different sites that interact with SCEA schools on an annual basis on the islands of Negros and Boracay.
The group travelled to Boracay where Swan Trade Training Centre students have worked on indigenous and local school maintenance projects. Swan’s Impact Trip led by Luke Norman will also venture to Boracay in December of 2017 to continue this work and develop relationships with local tribes and indigenous ATI people in this region.
Other regions were covered during the 4-day trip, including Sagay (Swan’s Leavers2Leaders groups), Cabacungan (Ellenbrook’s Leavers2Leaders groups) and Tabao (combined Leavers2Leaders groups).
The morning in Cabacungan was a memorable time as Linda Roney (ex-Swan and Ellenbrook staff member) donated funds from her popular charity ‘Sunlight of the Dawn’ to provide 250 pairs of flip-flop slippers for the children in the community church. It was a joyful experience singing Christian songs with the large group that had assembled for the special ceremony.
The fishing community of Tabao was also a moving experience, as the ladies from community organisation ‘Share An Opportunity’ thanked Linda for the donation of the funds for the toilet/shower block in the community. The ladies work tirelessly in the fishing community to provide livelihood projects for the locals, including sewing by hand looms, folded paper handicrafts and bottling detergent for local sale. Their commitment to the children in this community is admirable, and their faith in God gives them the determination to succeed in a village that has a history of crime, drug-running and nefarious night activities.
Finally, some time in the larger city of Bacolod with Pastor Gary Visitacion (a long-time pastor, Christian missionary and ‘our man on the ground in the Philippines’) was a great respite from the travel schedule, with the Australian visitors becoming re-acquainted with the famous diet of chicken-on-a-stick-with-rice that has become the staple fare for all Leavers2Leaders travellers over a number of years.
The trip was an introduction to all of the communities that SCEA schools interact with and a formal introduction by each leader to our new CEO Neil David, but it also doubled as reconnaissance for the 2017 Leavers2Leaders trip which will run from November 18-28 this year.
The trip was very special for charity donor and teacher-extraordinaire Linda Roney who has been faithfully collecting and sending donations for Philippines for a number of years. This trip marked the first time that she had seen the large orphanage and six toilet blocks in different locations that she had funded through Sunlight of the Dawn.
When Linda met with Sagay’s IRC partner Bert Armada and saw the work undertaken to build three toilet blocks and a basketball court by SCEA students over the last three years, she was amazed at what had been achieved for the lives of the children in the community.
“This is what students should be doing once they’ve finished school,” she said.
“I cannot commend this enough to parents and students who are wanting to help out and make a real difference in the lives of others.”
Footwear frenzy: Southern Hills Principal Paul Beacham hands out the flip-flops donated by Linda Roney’s ‘Sunlight of the Dawn’ charity with help from SCEA CEO Neil David.