Red Earth Social Justice Program
The Red Earth Immersion provides the opportunity for Waverley students to delve into Australia’s rich Aboriginal history and culture. The boys live and work alongside remote Aboriginal communities in Arnhem Land, Northern Territory and Cape York, Northern Queensland. These valuable experiences encourage an appreciation of diversity, nurture inclusivity, and help students build positive relationships with people from different backgrounds.
This year, 24 students embarked on the 10-day immersion to Arnhem Land. They learnt about traditional dance, hunting methods and bush tucker, and sourced wood to create didgeridoos and clapsticks alongside community members. The boys worked on projects in community classrooms with local kids, as well as installing veggie gardens, animal shelters, toilets and water tanks.
The coordinator of the program, Ms Olivia Kite, wants to teach the boys the importance of giving back, specifically, giving back with their hands. “Physical help, listening to people and understanding their story is just as valuable and significant to those people as financial aid. We want to move away from the idea of just giving money to help a cause”.
Each night, the boys practised reflective writing, journaling about the people they had met, insights they’d received, and how they could use this knowledge to make a difference. Year 10 student Murray Shearer wrote, “Since being on this trip, I have grown as a person in many different ways. I have been able to step outside of my comfort zone and by doing this, it gives me a positive outlook on life. Now I know that when different challenges arise, I can take them on”.
We would like to thank the parents for supporting the boys on this transformational journey.
ABOUT THE SOCIAL JUSTICE PROGRAM
Social Justice and giving back are cornerstones of Waverley College and what we strive to instill in our students. It is one of EREA’s major touchstones, and as such, it is something we want every student to have the opportunity to experience.
The program currently consists of the Red Earth and Timor Leste Immersions as well as local initiatives including volunteering at Matthew Talbot, Redfern Jarjum Indigenous College, Charing eld Aged Care, Holdsworth Bowling and community events, Wairoa School and War Memorial Hospital.
Mr James Horrocks, Holdsworth Ball facilitator, has dedicated significant time to the program, through which he hopes the boys will gain an understanding of the wider world and its deeper societal issues.
“The boys at Waverley College are privileged with everything they have available to them, and with that comes a responsibility to give back to those that aren’t as privileged as they are.”
In 2020, the College will be providing three immersion opportunities for boys in Year 10 and 11 including Red Earth, Timor Leste and the newly introduced Kenya Immersion. For more information on these immersions, please contact the Director of Student Formation and Identity, Ms Sue Walsh.