In October 2016, students from the Swan Trade Training Centre (STTC) will venture to the Philippines for the first time ever to take part in building projects to further their skills and experience Filipino culture on the island of Boracay.
After four years of working on the Sunshine House project in Cambodia, STTC Director Peter Bolt will lead a team of 24 students and 5 teaching staff to Global Academy Boracay – a small international school who are grateful for all of this help they are about to receive.
Mrs Leonisa Tumaob, who has been the Principal of the small school since its inception more than thirty years ago, sees this blessing as an answer to prayer.
“Of course we are so grateful for the work that can be done here. The woodwork, some metal work, the carpentry. There are so many skills they have and so many needs in the Philippines. We hope this will be such a special time for these Australian students. Certainly our students will remember this time and they are excited even now for what can happen.”
For STTC Director Peter Bolt and his staff, it marks their first foray into the Philippines but it continues their tradition of improving living conditions in third world countries, something he has been a part of for several years at Swan.
“The program will be different from our previous trips to Cambodia. The core of the trip is still the work program – utilising their trade skills for benefiting those less fortunate. However, we will also be giving our students the experience and understanding of what life is like in a third world country, by challenging them both physically and emotionally. It is our aim and purpose to use these experiences to allow the students to grow as individuals in a safe environment and inspire them to make a real difference in their world.”
The trip brings together students from different SCEA schools, with students from Mundaring also attending the trip and working together for the first time.
SCEA has been involved in the Philippines for more than ten years, with Southern Hills Christian College first venturing to Manila’s slums back in 2006 as part of the Leavers2Leaders program, which now takes students from three SCEA schools to the Philippines each November.
Ray Hockley, Swan’s Head of Service Learning, will be bringing a large group in September of 2017 and sees this first trip as a real opportunity to open new doors into cultural awareness in Christian communities around the world.
“God’s work starts with humble beginnings. If we faithfully support His work there is no end to the joy that it can bring for His people and the lives of those involved. We are excited about the future of these trips and where God can lead us through students experiencing life in different places around the globe.”
Giles Creelman, SCEA’s Projects and Initiatives Manager, outlined some of the work that will be done at the Global School Boracay during the trip.
"The students will be working for fifty hours on the school project – that seems like a lot of time. But the buildings are more than thirty years old and the tropical climate will present challenges that we don’t experience in Australia."
Students will also be taking part in cooking classes with an international chef based in Boracay, see underwater aquatic life in the local waters off the coast and visit local schools to meet with students their own age to share experiences and benefit from cultural activities on the island.
Global Academy Lionisa Tumaob working together with SCEA representative Pastor Gary Visitacion on Boracay Island earlier this year