A group of St Stephen’s School students have brought smiles to the faces of hundreds of underprivileged children in South Africa, following their recent service learning trip during the April school holidays.
The tour, co-ordinated by St Stephen’s School secondary teacher Dale Kelly, saw the Year 10 students cart bricks, paint and perform manual labour to upgrade sporting and other facilities at the Jehovah Jireh Haven (JJ Haven) orphanage on South Africa’s Sunshine Coast.
They also visited homeless shelters and townships to gain insight into the living conditions of disadvantaged South Africans; played soccer games against local teams; and delivered 250 pairs of soccer boots donated by the St Stephen’s School community.
“It was an amazing experience for all of us,” Dale said. “To be able to give something to the children who have so little was a huge reward. Our students showed great maturity and compassion throughout the trip and learned an appreciation of how privileged we truly are in Australia.”
Part of the school’s service learning program, the tour reflects the St Stephen’s School ethos of growing people. While the tour had a tangible outcome for the orphans of JJ Haven, it was equally significant for the students.
Student Ben Ockwell said it had helped him to see how some people lived and the hardships they endured.
“It’s changed my outlook on life,” he said.
Top image: Students build a sports court at Jehova Jireh Haven Orphanage.