Year 8 Service Trip and Round Square Conference

Miss Laura Cambridge

Miss Laura Cambridge

2018 Year 8 Service Trip to Feeding Dreams Cambodia and Junior Round Square Conference, Keystone Academy, Beijing, China.

The Year 8 Service and Round Square Conference Trip has recently returned from a two-week excursion to Cambodia and Beijing, China.

Lydia Farrar, Caitlin Croft, Kirrily Wickham, Tenneal Mason and Sophie Mason travelled with Mr Flynn and Miss Cambridge on the inaugural trip to volunteer with The Southport School at Feeding Dreams Cambodia.

Whilst in Siem Reap the girls had the opportunity to visit the historical temples of Angkor Wat as well as the many sights and sounds of the Siem Reap Province. The girls volunteered their time to assist teachers in the classrooms of Feeding Dreams. A volunteer organisation that provides the students of the surrounding area, mostly slums, the opportunity to learn English for two hours a day as well as a free meal in the opposite time frames to their usual Khmer schooling. For some of these students this is the only schooling they receive as public schooling in Cambodia is not free and requires students to pay teachers for the privilege of attending. Unfortunately, the $1US per day is too much for these families who have several children and subsist on wages well below this figure. The girls sang songs, taught English and tested their artist skills on the boards for their eager students as well as completing a food drop to the surrounding slum areas. On the last day the girls braved the high temperatures and humidity to play a friendly Australia vs Cambodia football (soccer) match, needless to say the speed and skill of the children in bare feet was astounding.

At night the girls embraced the haggling markets and the local cuisine including some rather crunchy crickets. At the end of the first week, the girls waved goodbye to Mr Flynn and continued on their way with Miss Cambridge to the Round Square Conference held at Keystone Academy, Beijing, China.

The girls powered through the week. The conference theme was ‘Dare to be a force of nature’ with guest speakers speaking about areas of sustainability. The girls were treated to Keynote speakers Sharon Pincott (Elephants in Zimbabwe), Dr Caitlin O’Connell (Rhino conservation), Tracey Read (Plastic Free Seas), Terri Moore (Environmental Artist), Natalie Bennett (Live with Less) and Peggy Liu (JUCCCE). During these lectures the girls were encouraged to challenge their thought processes and make little steps to assist in the overall effect of humans on the environment.

Our challenge to you – can you eliminate the use of plastic straws? Miss Cambridge and some of the girls have taken up the challenge. It may be a little step but one which could make a world of difference to the creatures currently dealing with the plastic in our oceans.

On the last full day in Beijing the girls completed their adventure day. Although dealing with sleet, rain and winter-like temperatures the girls demonstrated their Armidale resilience to horrible weather and enjoyed their time visiting the sites of Beijing which included the Forbidden City, Olympic Park, Lama Temple, Beijing Zoo, Summer Palace, 798 Arts District, Temple of Heaven and the Prince Kung Mansion.

The girls would like to extend a big thank you to The Southport School’s Julie and Dee, Mrs Thomas and their parents, for making this trip possible. We look forward to seeing what fundraising efforts and initiatives the girls have planned to support the ideals of Round Square that they experienced on this trip.

 

Miss Laura Cambridge