During December 2017, 57 students and eight teachers travelled to Tanzania, Africa, where they undertook service projects in several Maasai communities and schools as part of the Antipodeans program.
Two teams of students laid foundations for two new classrooms at Matimu Primary School in Le Manyatta Village, and built new pathways around the school to minimise dust-induced chest and eye infections among children and staff. They also assisted with the construction of a new veranda.
Another team helped construct water tanks to deliver and store fresh water for the community in Esilalei Village, and the final team was based at Mungere Village, where they helped renovate two classrooms.
Brisbane Girls Grammar School’s Antipodeans Coordinator and Humanities Teacher, Mr Paul Martineau, said the program enables students to work closely with locals in developing countries and make a meaningful contribution to their community.
‘The girls undertake hard physical labour and projects are carefully selected by Antipodeans to ensure they are sustainable, responsible and part of the broader community development plan,’ Mr Martineau said.
‘Throughout 2017, the girls spent countless hours fundraising and achieved a total of $8 000 to fund these projects, giving them a strong sense of ownership and responsibility.’
Students returned from the program with a greater appreciation of the challenges faced by those living in developing nations and deep desire to continue making a positive difference to the world.
‘The project was the most eye opening experience of my life, and seeing the role of women in this community made me appreciate and value the opportunities I am given,’ Helena Ruddell, a Year 12 student and Antipodeans participant, said.
‘It has inspired me to undertake further volunteering efforts in the future, particularly in the education field.’
As part of the program, students also completed a trek to the summit of Mt Meru (4566 m), went on a safari, and enjoyed sightseeing and other cultural experiences in Zanzibar.
Girls Grammar offers the Antipodeans programme biennially for students in Years 10 and 11.