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2014-15 Philippines Immersion Trip

Date Posted: 26-Feb-2015

In December of  2014, 8 girls and 3 teachers embarked on the Philippines Immersion Trip, aiding various organisations supporting communities within the developing country. We traveled to Manila, with an organisation called Bahay Tuluyan, run by Australian-born Catherine Scerri. She has dedicated her life towards giving children born into poor families opportunities to gain an education and save money, helping to break the cycle of poverty in their community. We also worked with the Young Christians Association, fighting for workers rights, and visited the various historical landmarks that are iconic features of Philippines turbulent history. 
Travelling south to Bacolod, we were accommodated by the Kinder School, supported by our own Houses here at the college; Maredsous and New Norcia. The Good Samaritan sisters who run the school focus on giving children education, a healthy learning environment, and a nutritionally beneficial lunch- usually the most substantial meal of the day for these children living in makeshift houses in the streets. The boys and girls aged 4 to 6 were incredibly excited to have visitors and performed their best songs and dances celebrating the Christmas season.
The PREDA foundation, founded and run by Father Shay Cullen, rescues girls from sexual abuse and offers housing and representation in court so their abusers can be brought to justice. Protecting girls from the growing issue of underage prostitution and sex slavery is the focus of Father Shay Cullen, who has been working to abolish this issue for more than 30 years in the Philippines. The Bennies girls enjoyed talking and interacting with the girls at the PREDA home, aged 11 to 17, and felt a connection through similar interests and games. 

The Philippines Immersion was a once-in-a-lifetime sort of experience, witnessing first-hand the separation of social classes and the consistent hospitality offered by all people. 

- Bridget Staal (Year 12)

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