SOLIDARITY MATTERS SEPTEMBER - 2020
VANUATU RECOVERY APPEAL
ST LOUIS HIGH SCHOOL, KIRIBATI
REFLECTIONS FROM BURMESE TEACHERS
Rebuilding has commenced at St Michel Technical College
Junior campus toilet block completed
How learning is continuing during COVID-19 lockdown
INSIDE your guide to our September issue
3 Welcome from our CEO 4 Vanuatu - Tropical Cyclone Harold Appeal Update
5 India - Operation Rainbow COVID-19 Update 6 Kiribati - St Louis High School Junior toilet block opens 7 Project in the spotlight
Anti-Human Trafficking Sewing Project - Myanmar 8 Reflections from Burmese Teachers Marist Asia Foundation 10 Project Updates ICFP Timor-Leste and St Joseph's College, Bougainville 11
Cambodia - LaValla project Students living with a disability overcome barriers 12 Around the Schools 13 Want to make a difference while you are at work? Introducing Workplace Giving 14 60 seconds with... Our newest Board Member, Norman Chan
FROM THE CEO
Dear friends and supporters, This edition of Solidarity Matters takes us right
Our AMS team have been working hard to
continue building a sustainable base for the vital
Kiribati, Myanmar, Timor Leste, Bougainville and
work that our projects are carrying out. On page
Cambodia, a reminder that we truly are part of a
13, you’ll see some information on our new
broad network working to ensure that every
Workplace Giving program. Workplace Giving
young person is able to reach their brightest
allows you to make small, regular donations to
potential. The times that we are in still pose
AMS through your pre-tax income. After a few
deep challenges for many of our projects, but
easy steps you are set up and can sit back and
you’ll also read of the hope that our partners
know that you are doing good every pay cycle,
continue to share. Brothers are delivering food
without the need for any further admin. We
parcels to the most vulnerable and teachers
know that times are tough for many Australians
continue dropping off learning materials during
right now, but if you have the capacity to make
home visits or teaching via phone. We are
a small regular contribution, please do consider
doing so through Workplace Giving, or through
donation page. A few months ago, we reached out to seek support
Unfortunately, we won’t be able to gather as an
Harold, which had devastated communities in
AMS community this year. Our Christmas events
Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands. In particular
have been cancelled to ensure the safety and
our Marist community at St Michel Technical
comfort of our supporters. However, we are
College on Santo Island in Vanuatu had suffered
working on an exciting online AMS end of year
significant damage to classrooms, communal
gathering and will be in touch soon with more
ablution with Thanks
were your and
Until then, take care, keep safe and thank you
communities across Australia, we are proud to
for making it possible for us to continue making
report that rebuilding efforts at St Michel have
the future a little brighter for vulnerable children
already started. You can see the initial photos in
and young people.
the following pages and can watch a video catch up we held with the St Michel school staff
Yours in Solidarity,
recently, on our website video or YouTube pages. Rebecca Bromhead CEO
"We are so happy and so thankful to you..."
Before and after photos of the roofing restoration on the Technical Classroom
ST MICHEL TECHNICAL COLLEGE, VANUATU RECOVERY
The morning of August 17, 2020, saw the roof of the Technical Classroom starting to be rebuilt, four months after Tropical Cyclone Harold decimated Vanuatu. Br Ralph from St Michel's Technical College said,
We are so happy and so thankful to you the AMS team to secure the funding for St. Michel. St. Michel College is the only school that received funding after the cyclone on Santo island. So, the Bishop, priests, students, staff, parents and we brothers are so happy. Thank you so much to everyone that donated and continues to donate to rebuilding St Michel's.
SOLIDARITY MATTERS | 4
OPERATION RAINBOW INDIA COVID-19
Br Saul Placious FMS Rainbow families gather above at the health hub to collect vitamins and food rations.
Of the 65 million people living in the state of Tamil
On August 8, 2020, Operation Rainbow organised a
Nadu, approximately 650,000 are HIV positive. Of
monthly support group meeting. As it is a period of
these, one in seven is a child under the age of 14.
lockdown in India, Operation Rainbow are unable to run
These people are some of the most neglected in
society because of their poor knowledge about the
community during these times, Rainbow families were
virus and its effects.
invited to a health hub and provided with health care
support in the form of vitamins, cough syrups and Because of the stigma associated with the disease,
rations for the families.
many families don’t access the services that can assist
A big crowd of people showed up to access this health hub and guidelines were in place to maintain social distance. Masks were mandatory.
Operation Rainbow, was established in 2003 by the Marist Brothers to provide support to families and
It is wonderful to see that even in the midst of
children affected by HIV. It works with families in
challenges of this pandemic, the most vulnerable
their own settings and assists them with access to
members of this community have not been forgotten
resources available within their local communities.
and are still being supported.
SOLIDARITY MATTERS | 5
Students gather for the opening celebrations
The new junior toilet block
ST LOUIS HIGH SCHOOL KIRIBATI 2020 SCHOOL CAMPAIGN UPDATE
Our 2020 School Campaign is focused on providing
On August 20, 2020, we held our fifth online event,
critical renovations for the Marist St Louis High
which took us to St Louis High School, Kiribati.
School in Kiribati. Both the junior campus and the
During this live Zoom event, attendees got to see
senior campus of St. Louis High School are in need of
and hear from Br Sefo, Principal Selaphina and the
new toilet facilities. A clean and safe toilet ensures
students from our Kiribati video, Tinaakoi, Tarante
health, dignity, and well-being — yet 40% of the
world’s population does not have access to toilets.
We were very pleased to have the
Noosaville and St Gregory's College, Cambelltown, On August 6, 2020, the new junior campus toilets were
join us for this event.
students. The original facilities were in a dilapidated
We heard about the needs of the school and how
state with most of the toilets barely flushing.
important it is to the students to have safe facilities including classrooms and toilets. We also heard from
The next urgent build will be the senior toilets where
them about what being Marist means to them. The
there are only three functioning toilets for 564
students told us that being a Marist is a blessing and
students. Because of the limited number of toilets
how they have learnt to love each other and uphold
available and their poor conditions, the students do
the values of family, spirit, and presence.
not look forward to utilising the toilets while at school.
To watch the video visit: http://bit.ly/StLouisHighSchool
We will continue to focus our efforts on engaging and partnering with our Marist schools in Australia to ensure students at St Louis High School have access to toilets. As UN Water notes, “a toilet is not just a toilet, it’s an opportunity-maker, a dignity-provider, a lifesaver.” Together, let us turn this from a goal into a reality!
SOLIDARITY MATTERS | 6
Tarante, Tinaakoi and Melina
PROJECT IN THE SPOTLIGHT ANTI -HUMAN TRAFFI CKI NG SEWI NG PROJECT - MYANMAR
Khin working in the sewing workroom
Students learning new skills in the sewing workroom
Khin (not her real name) is 18 years old and the
There are approximately 60,000 Burmese migrants
eldest of five siblings. In 2015, at the age of 15,
she attended the summer sewing class for three
Myanmar, and make up roughly 50% of the town’s
months. Her parents lived on a rubber plantation
population. Kawthaung is on the border with Ranong in
and have been moving on from one plantation to
Thailand, separated by the Kyan River, which makes it
another, depending on their work. Khin failed the Basic Education Standard X Examination in 2018 and discontinued schooling. To be able to support her family, she came to Kawthaung to work at a hotel.
a base for many migrants to move into Thailand. There are very few work opportunities and these people often have no place to live. They are lured to Thailand with the dream of finding work but many are unaware of the challenges and risks in doing so. Due to its frontier location, Kawthaung is a hotbed of human
Upon arriving in Kawthaung, Khin met the RNDM Sisters and decided to attend sewing classes to
learn sewing and later work at the workroom. Her
The Congregation of Our Lady of the Missions, RNDM
parents and siblings now live in Dawei and with the
Sisters, have been working in Kathaung since 2010.
regular income she receives from the sewing room
They often have medical, social work and education
she can support her family. Her parents cannot
backgrounds and their programs in Kawthaung include
afford to send her to school to continue grade 10.
HIV/AIDS outreach, education for vulnerable girls, and
Her aunt is also working in the sewing workroom.
this Anti-Human Trafficking Sewing Project that is the focus of the Lenity Australia funding. They work
Khin’s aim is to continue earning some money from
closely with the Marist Fathers located in Ranong,
the sewing work and next year re-sit her Basic
Thailand, with whom AMS also work.
passes, she will continue distance education whilst working at home tailoring and earning money. At the same time, she will also help her younger siblings with their schooling. Khin
The Anti-Human Trafficking Sewing Project provides sewing
women/girls each year. This project combats human trafficking by giving vulnerable young women and girls a place to learn new skills, earn an income, and avoid
accepted into this program and for having these opportunities.
their migration to Thailand. They also participate in other
including human rights and the realities of life in Thailand, so that they can make informed decisions about their immediate and long-term future. Project supported by:
SOLIDARITY MATTERS | 7
REFLECTIONS FROM BURMESE TEACHERS Yoon Thiri and May Thazin Oo from BMSP explain how teaching in Ranong, Thailand, has changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Burmese Migrant Secondary Education Programme (BMSP) – provides an opportunity for 100 Burmese students to receive a 4 year secondary education.
My name is Yoon Thiri and I am one of the Burmese teachers from the Marist Asia Foundation (MAF). I teach English and Social Studies and I have been working at the MAF for five years. I enjoy teaching very much. Normally our school year starts in May but, due to the Covid-19 disease spreading, we had to follow the Thai Government education system and so our school reopened on 1st July, 2020.
May and June
created workbooks each week and delivered them to the
teachers plan and create exercises for all of the subjects, then all of the books go for printing to be ready for delivery on Monday. Every week on Monday, myself and another colleague or teacher go out on our motorbikes to deliver the books to our students. We have around 25 students to deliver to but there is one student who lives 30 kilometres outside of town. His family comes into Ranong to pick up the workbooks at school. Also, there are students who cannot come back to Ranong because they were visiting family in Phuket and Kawthaung, Myanmar began.
the COVID-19 travel restrictions student
plantation with his father comes into Ranong to pick up the workbook at a friend’s house. To deliver the books we have to go around the town on the busy roads and under the sunshine. Some houses
Yoon Thiri supporting students and their education with weekly home visits
After a week of delivering books and marking their work, I
are a little bit far from the main road and we have to
learnt something from them. Some students need more
drive through the narrow roads to get there. Sometimes
support to complete their work and they need to improve
there are groups of dogs which makes it uncomfortable
in self-study. Once, I tried to meet with them online and
to drive. However, I am happy and joyful to do this job
explain the exercise, but the internet connection is not
because I can see my students’ and their parents’
good for learning and not all of the students can access it.
welcome smiles at every house I go to. They are happy with the job we are doing for their children to learn
Finally, even though there are some challenges during this
during these days.
I am happy that my students can learn something
new and I hope it can benefit them.
By Yoon Thiri SOLIDARITY MATTERS | 8
"It was really positive to see students keen to learn and passionate about their education for the future."
Teacher, May Thazin Oo, visiting students encouraging them and their families to support education
By May Thazin Oo
During the COVID-19 outbreak, the disease affected
It has been a good experience visiting homes of our
both Thai and Burmese families in Ranong in terms of
students to encourage them. They shared that they
their employment and education. I am one of the
really missed school, and it is easier to do schoolwork
Burmese migrants, so in this story, I would like to
with their teacher and they can discuss with their
mainly focus on two challenges of Burmese migrant
friends. Some students shared they found it hard to
think about education as they had to look after the household work and small children. Others said they
The first challenge is an estimated 90% of Burmese
were happy to get workbooks otherwise they would be
migrant workers were jobless because of the fish
factory's closure. Even though Burmese workers could
complete their work. If they had no school work they
not access support from the government, they can live
said they would just become lazy playing games on
and survive day by day only because of food donations
phones and watching television all day. It was really
from some kind Thai people and organisations.
positive to see students keen to learn and passionate
about their education for the future. We hope to see The second challenge is that the Migrant Learning Centre closures means Burmese children have access Marist
them back at school soon.
provides education for the
Burmese children. The other nine Migrant Learning
This article was provided by: www.maristasiafoundation.org
Centers could not re-open since August 2019 because of documental issues. Marist Asia Foundation opened again on COVID-19,
making and delivering workbooks to students every week.
Project supported by:
SOLIDARITY MATTERS | 9
ICFP TIMORLESTE CELEBRATE Br Paul Gilchrist FMS Director, ICFP
St Joseph's College parent and student gathering
At a meeting of Directors and senior staff of the fourteen
Thursday, 16 July, the Director of ANAAA, the National Tertiary Education Accreditation Agency in Timor-Leste, Dr Edmundo Viegas, announced the results of the past four years of accreditation that the agency has completed. In the period 2016-2019, ICFP was assessed as one of only three Institutions that
management practices. It was also judged the best
ST JOSEPH'S COLLEGE, MABIRI GATHERING
Institute in Timor Leste for the Faculty of Education with an average score for its Bachelor of Teaching ahead of the next Institute.
Br Mark Kenatsi FMS Principal
To have these results announced in the presence of
On Friday, the 7th of August, parents were invited
the Minister of Higher Education, was a bonus.
for a day of interviewing and conferencing.
degree and Licentiate degree five percentage points
ICFP's Director of Quality Assurance, Margie Beck, who recently was named in the Queen's Birthday
Parents from the Northern part of the island came on
Honours, deserves a great deal of credit for her
Thursday, 6 August, and spent a night in the school.
work at ICFP; she has since returned to Timor-Leste
The rest of the parents of Central, West Coast and
and is delighted with this good news story for ICFP.
South arrived in the morning. Class patrons and matrons had a good time with the parents of the boys they look after. The day started with the assembly to formally welcome the parents who turned up for the occasion. After the assembly boys led their parents to the respective rooms allocated for various classes for the interview and conferencing. It
teachers got to meet and know the parents of the boys as well as parents knowing the patrons and matrons of their boys. On the other hand, parents also
ICFP students You
sponsorship of a teaching student for USD $1000 per year.
Australian Marist Solidarity at firstname.lastname@example.org
commitment and support parents have towards the education of their kids. AMS is currently seeking donations for a future classroom re-build for 2022. To donate please visit www.australianmaristsolidarity.org.au
SOLIDARITY MATTERS | 10
STUDENTS LIVING WITH A DISABILITY OVERCOME BARRIERS "No one teaches us to dream, we just do." Br Tony Burrows with the five students who have finished their university courses
There are an estimated 86,000+ children and
young people under the age of 20 living with a
realised by five students who finished their
physical disability in Cambodia. Those with a
University courses, passing their final exams.
disability are less likely to attend school and
Some of these students have been at LaValla
more likely to drop out than their non-disabled
since they started in Grade 1, fourteen years
peers due to inadequate services. Only 10% of
schools in the country have ramps and seated
Law, Public Administration, English Literature
toilets, the long distance needed to travel from
and Business Studies. Three have already gone
home to school provides additional challenges
on to employment within their field of study.
for young people with a disability; teachers are not trained or equipped to cater for these students and these young people often face deep stigma and discrimination that focuses on their limitations rather than their abilities and talents.
They undertook courses which included
One of the students, who is now a teacher at a private school in Phnom Penh, spoke about the discrimination and ridicule he received at his school back in his village prior to joining the LaValla School. He spoke about being told that
Br Tony Burrows, Executive Director of Marist
he would never amount to anything and that he
Solidarity Cambodia says, “No one teaches us to
should stay home and stop wasting the teachers’
dream, we just do. But for young people living
time. Thankfully, his father persisted, and he
in remote rural areas, especially those with
was referred to Marist Solidarity Cambodia who
disabilities who have no access to education,
the dreams will not carry them far.”
For Cambodian children and young people with
Br Tony stated, “Since our students come from
disabilities who become part of the LaValla
the poorest of families in the country, a project
Project, their dreams do become a reality. The
like ours depends totally on the generosity of
dream to be accepted, to be treated with
others – funding agencies and individuals. We
dignity, to have fun and enjoy life, to access an
are sincerely thankful for their generosity and
education, to be able to walk, to have skills for
belief in these young people whose lives have
employment and more – all these different
benefited so much from their support.”
dreams have become a reality for students at LaValla.
SOLIDARITY MATTERS | 11
AROUND THE SCHOOLS Trinity College, Beenleigh Each
Beachathon, more appropriately referred to as the Walk for Justice, walking along the beach to raise money for a range of different charities that they support as a part of their Trinity Marist Outreach Program. This year though, like so many other things, they were not able to do this due to the COVID19 pandemic. Recognising, that due to the pandemic, it has been even harder for these charities to raise the much needed funds they decided turn to a Cadbury fundraising chocolate drive instead. They offered incentive prizes drawn across the three weeks of the chocolate fundraiser drive with one final super draw and prize, a Wesfield shopping voucher and an Apple Ipad. In true Trinity fashion, their families embraced this fundraiser raising just over $15,000. This money will be directed to various charitable organisations including
Trinity College, Beenleigh, Campus Minister, Ciara Retford presenting the prizes to the winners
Australian Marist Solidarity.
Marist College, Emerald
Well done to the students of Marist College Emerald who raised over $3000 to support the Emerald Community Centre and Australian Marist Solidarity.
Champagnat. Assistant Principal Joe Kelly said, “For a small school we have a big heart.”
Marist College Emerald Principal, Mark Green presenting the cheque with his students
Marist College, Canberra Service Day was a huge success raising thousands for Australian Marist Solidarity, broadening the students understanding of Marist180, as well as providing students with the opportunity to engage with over 50 exhibitors in the Virtual Service Expo. Marist College Canberra would like to thank the generosity and leadership of the College community and all those who contributed to this important event in the College calendar.
Marist College Canberra students gathering for the Virtual Service Expo
SOLIDARITY MATTERS | 12
Back in 2011 our daughter went on an immersion program to Timor-Leste. As part of this the
WANT TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE WHILE YOU ARE AT WORK?
whole family got involved in learning more about where she was going and what she was going to be doing while in Timor. We often get asked to donate money to different wonderful causes but this allowed us to see firsthand through our daughter’s stories and photos, and the ongoing photos since, how donating to Marist Solidarity was being used. By simply having a small amount of money taken out of my wage each week, I can contribute to Marist projects that benefit children around the world and to see happy faces on children as their new school is being built makes it all worthwhile. And the other bonus is it is tax deductible. Jenny
Workplace giving (payroll deductions) is a simple and effective way
to have your donation to AMS automatically deducted from your pay on a regular basis. Through Workplace Giving (also known as Payroll Donations or Deductions), employees can nominate an
*Aaloka is 11 years old, she comes from
amount to donate each pay period through their company’s payroll
the Tea Garden Estate in Bangladesh.
Marists in this area are providing much needed access to education for young
From as little as the cost of a cup of coffee each pay, you help
people like her. Aaloka's favourite subject
vulnerable young people in our region reach their brightest
potential. At the same time, you can reduce your tax. From Australian
Australian Marist Solidarity supports the
administration costs associated with processing donations and
St Marcellin School which provides free
provides a regular and reliable income stream that helps us with
education and boarding to tea garden
planning the work that we can commit to each year.
children that enables them to break the cycle
Under a payroll deduction program all donations are made from
bonded life that they were born into.
your pre-taxable income. This is the easiest way to give as you do not need to worry about collecting receipts throughout the year.
Women working in the tea fields must
Please consider whether you might be able to make a regular
work quickly and delicately to pick the top
contribution to ensure that young people in our region can access
tea leaves from the bushes.
The work is
education and reach their brightest potential.
strenuous and poorly paid.
School There are five easy steps for organising your payroll donation:
Giving. 2. Download the Workplace Giving Form and give the completed form to your payroll manager. 3. Instruct your payroll manager to deduct your nominated donation amount from your pre-tax salary each pay period. 4. Ensure your payroll manager has the correct bank account details for them to transfer your donation: Account name: Australian Marist Solidarity BSB: 062 000 Acct: 1628 5262 5. Request the payroll manager to forward the authorisation form to us. To find how you can Workplace Give visit www.australianmaristsolidarity.org.au
SOLIDARITY MATTERS | 13
indentured labour and proves access to education
1. Check with your employer and confirm they support Workplace
*name changed to protect identity
. . . H T I W S D N O C E S Norman Chan, AMS Board Member
about/connect with AMS? In 2012 when the Qld Fiji Marist Old Boys were trying to raise money for a building project at Marist Brothers High School in Fiji, a fellow old boy, who was aware of what AMS did told me to give the office a call. Br Allen was then kind enough to meet with me after my call and agreed to help out with the project.
Marist Brothers High School statue of St Marcellin Champagnat and students
What aspects of AMS’ work are you most passionate about? I'm passionate about the projects AMS
Marist Brother's High School is a
undertakes to help young people and
school situated in Suva, the capital
none of this would be possible without
of Fiji. It is a school in the Marist
the support of donors and partners.
tradition, founded in 1949 by the
Marist Brothers, who have had a presence in Fiji since 1848.
What is your role with AMS? I am currently chair of the Finance and Risk Committee and a board member
Norman Chan standing outside St Peter’s Basilica in Rome
Catholic Marist education in Fiji is acknowledged as having a tradition of
citizens of Fiji and the surrounding
Why do you support AMS?
region are alumni of the school, having
Over the years, I have greatly appreciated the work AMS have done in Fiji and the other
parts of the Pacific and Asia. I see the role I play at AMS as a tiny contribution to the
translated into English as "In this
great work done by AMS.
sign thou shalt conquer."
SOLIDARITY MATTERS | 14
To make a cash, cheque or credit card donation fill out the form below and mail to: Australian Marist Solidarity PO Box 273, Ashgrove West QLD 4060
Make direct deposit donations to: Account Name: Australian Marist Solidarity Limited BSB: 062 000 Acct: 1628 5262 Please email the details of your donation to: email@example.com
OUR PROJECTS NEED ONGOING SUPPORT Please consider making a monthly donation to AMS. This enables us to better plan for the support we can provide our projects.
To donate online visit: www.australianmaristsolidarity.org.au
I wish to make a one-off donation
I wish to make a monthly donation. Please debit my nominated card each month. Regular donations are debited from your credit card or bank account automatically on the 15th of every month, with a receipt for the total annual contribution issued at the end of each financial year.
To make a cash, cheque or credit card donation fill out this form and mail to: Australian Marist Solidarity PO Box 273, Ashgrove West Q 4060 Make direct deposit donations to: Account name: Australian Marist Solidarity BSB: 062 000 Acct: 1628 5262 Please email the details of your donation to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Address:________________________________________________________ State:__________________________Postcode: Email:__________________________________________________________ I wish to donate: $25
Credit card details: Expiry date:
Donations over $2 are tax deductible
Name on card:__________________________________________________
I would like to receive more information about including Australian Marist Solidarity in my will
Donate online at www.australianmaristsolidarity.org.au
Solidarity Matters September 2020 Cover Image Yoon Thiri supporting students and their education with weekly home visits
"WHAT YOU LEAVE BEHIND IS NOT WHAT IS ENGRAVED IN STONE MONUMENTS, BUT WHAT IS WOVEN INTO THE LIVES OF OTHERS." Pericles
Editorial Leigh Holohan Marketing and Communications Coordinator Australian Marist Solidarity PO Box 273 Ashgrove West Q 4060 Australia Phone (07) 3354 0600 Fax (07) 3354 0684
Remember Australian Marist Solidarity in your will.
For further information please visit www.australianmaristsolidarity.org.au
EMPOWERING YOUNG PEOPLE ON THE MARGINS THROUGH EDUCATION AND TRAINING