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Students find gift of giving

News

19 December 2018

Students find gift of giving

Students find gift of giving

Scotch College students are celebrating the spirit of Christmas with a drive to provide food and gifts this festive season to refugee families who have settled in South Australia.

Scotch’s first Australian Refugee Association ambassador, Hugh Scaffidi-Muta, has led a year of fundraising. The Year 11 students spent time at a camp in the Adelaide Hills meeting a group of refugees of similar age to understand their circumstances.

“We went through a lot of the issues of refugee states and how refugees integrate into our society and how we can assist that,” said the 17-year-old from Belair.

“It was amazing to realise how similar people are, no matter our backgrounds, from across the world.

“We all have the same needs and wants and, at the same age, we like the same things so you can really relate to people who have been in a terrible situation.

“It was an eye-opener to meet someone who has come from a war-torn place where they were persecuted and to be able to connect with those people.”

Most of the 30 refugees, aged 15 to 18, he met were from the Horn of Africa, especially Somalia and Ethiopia, with others from Myanmar and Syria.

The college’s service learning co-ordinator, Tracey Wallace, has helped Scaffidi-Muta co-ordinate a year-long program of fundraising at the school. The highlight was the Act for Peace Ration Challenge, where staff and students had to live for a week on the food pack that a refugee in a camp would receive.

“We have a staff member who is a refugee and she said the packs were exactly like the ones she used to receive,” Ms Wallace said.

“Her father actually used the sardine tins to make implements to eat the food.

“I’m always looking for any opportunity for our students to give of themselves for a greater good and that was a lovely experience.”

There were 30 students and eight staff members who took the Ration Challenge and they raised more than $5000 in sponsorship money that went directly to the ARA.

Food and gifts collected – at the Mitcham and Torrens Park campuses – for the Christmas Drive will be delivered to the ARA’s Underdale office, where Scaffidi-Muta will assist with distribution to refugee families.

-- original article by Craig Cook appeared in the Hills Valley Messenger, 19 December 2018. Photo: Roy Vandervegt

 

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