On Wednesday 30 November, a group of 57 students and staff from Swan Christian Education Association visited the Australian Ambassador to the Philippines, The Hon. Amanda Gorely in her personal residence in Manila as part of their 2016 Leavers2Leaders trip.
The students from Ellenbrook Christian College, Swan Christian College and Southern Hills Christian College were warmly welcomed by the Ambassador and Embassy staff who briefed the students on the 70th anniversary of Australian-Filipino relations, trade between the countries and security issues to be aware of when travelling abroad.
“To meet the Ambassador in her home is a once in a life-time experience for all of us,” said Mr. Giles Creelman, Projects Manager for SCEA.
“The students have been working on livelihood projects in remote communities for the last ten days, living like locals and enjoying cultural festivals in the Visayas island areas of Sagay, Cabacungan and Boracay.
"This is such a special moment to be recognized for making a positive choice with their Year 12 Leavers break.”
SCEA’s global advocacy program won a competitive grant process funded by the Australian government’s Direct Aid Program in 2015 in which a fish-drying facility was conceptualized and built for a community in Negros Occidental. Students visited and worked in the facility during their trip in November.
Students were addressed by representatives from DFAT who explained that as one of Australia’s largest embassies, with over 250 staff, a large amount of work is done to support Australians and Australian interests, including for the 250 Australian companies operating in the Philippines.
Students were also advised of how the Government’s Smart Traveller program assists Australians overseas in case of emergency, such as in the Philippines where between 5 and 10 typhoons make landfall each year.
The event culminated in the Australian Ambassador wishing students and staff from SCEA a safe journey around the Philippines and welcoming them to visit again in the future.
“It’s a pleasure to see young people contributing so strongly to the Australian-Filipino relationship. We love to host you and we hope this is something we can do again soon," said The Hon. Amanda Gorely.
For more information about the 2016 Leavers2Leaders program, please visit leavers2leaders.com