Global Citizenship & Connectdness
Global citizens stand together, ask questions why, reject the naysayers and embrace the amazing possibilities of the world we share. (Hugh Evans, 2016: What does it mean to be a citizen of the world?, Ted.com)
Last Friday night we held our first Social Justice dinner at Camberwell Girls, hosted by our Social Justice Captains to raise money for the Green Gecko Project in Cambodia. We were extremely privileged to have two special guests, Tania Palmer, an Australian woman and founder of the organisation and one of her Cambodian daughters, Kim Suan (now 22 years old) present on the night to share their stories with the attendees. The night was a resounding success with over $4,000 being raised for this very special organisation.
Last week Tania and Kim spent a day at Camberwell Girls, getting to know the 19 students and 4 staff who are travelling to Cambodia in the September holidays for our inaugural trip. They also attended Assembly where all of the Senior School learnt about Tania’s journey and the purpose of the organisation.
A very special moment occurred at our dinner on Friday night when Tania told the audience that Camberwell Girls was the first school that she has partnered with, as most schools just wanted to come in for a visit and disrupt their programs, never to be seen again. Her experience had shown that it was not worth letting schools in to visit. Through her understanding of our strong social justice program, commitment to the Green Gecko Project to forge an ongoing partnership and our relationship with the Asia Pacific Youth Foundation (APYF), an organisation she trusts, Tania agreed to formalise a partnership with Camberwell Girls. It was so moving to hear her confirm her commitment to us after having spent time at our School and meeting members of our community. She was clearly pleased with her decision and we too are honoured to be in this partnership.
International social justice partnerships help our students to look beyond their everyday world and life of privilege to really see themselves as members of the human race; as global citizens. When we truly embrace our position as global citizens, we take responsibility to act on some of the world’s greatest challenges including extreme poverty, climate change and human rights issues.
Our journey to the partnership with APYF and the Green Gecko Project started almost 18 months ago when we began to search for an organisation to work with to recommence our international social justice program. We wanted to work with an organisation that had established a strong record of respectful relationship with their community, whose programs operated in the Asia Pacific region, the possibility to develop an ongoing relationship so that we could really work together and learn from each other and where they had the resources to provide strong back up and support in the event of any emergency situation.
After researching a number of providers we shortlisted four to interview, finally deciding on APYF, a registered charity committed to working with disadvantaged children, families and communities in the Asia Pacific Region. Through APYF, we became connected to the Green Gecko Project, an organisation that supports over 100 children who have previously lived and begged on the streets of Siem Reap in Cambodia. They ensure the children have access to education, security and a safe home as well as working with the child’s families by providing support with social enterprise and community outreach programs. The Green Gecko Project was registered as an NGO (Non-Government Organization) in Cambodia in 2007.
I know that our students and staff look forward to sharing their experience with you when they return and I hope that you will support our many efforts to raise money for the education of the Green Gecko children into the future.
Connectedness within a community is also very important and one of the key objectives of our School Captains. Karen, Tiarnie and Cindy have been inspiring role models to our students this year and they have also been working effectively with their group of School and House Captains and Leaders. The girls have written a report giving you an insight into their work and priorities this year. I encourage you all to read it HERE
With best wishes