Posted by Julia Goonan
on 14 November 2019
Team India and Team Philippines has been an ongoing incredible part of the Oakhill culture for many years now. This year was particularly special for both trips with over 60 Oakhill students travelling to the less fortunate countries and their lives changing forever.
Team India took off at the end of September, with 60 students headed to the amazing country in hopes of helping communities with little realisation that these communities would inspire them forever. The large group of students formed two teams led by teaches, Mr Chris Goodman, Ms Kim Robertson and Mr David Lowe. Both teams spent countless hours removing rubble and tiles from the front of St Joseph's Boys Village as well as sanding and clearing tiles off roofs at BoysTown.
Whilst on their trip, both teams met Lasallian Brother that reminded them of how universal the Lasallian community extends to. The Year 11 students played cricket, soccer, basketball and danced with hundreds of children on their two-week trip. Mary Hinchcliffe, a student who went to India said, 'It allowed us to achieve a greater appreciation for the little things in the modernised world that we take for granted. For us, this was extremely rewarding as we gifted our new found-friends with clothes, stationery supplies and toys.' The kids they came in contact with had very kind-hearted nature and just wanted to share with the Team India participants.
Team India returned to Australia with the ambition to empower those around them and continue the legacy that St John Baptist De La Salle created.
Team Philippines began their trip when they arrived in Bataan, where they visited the De La Salle School by the sea. Greeted by K-12 students, the young Oakhill students bonded over similar interests in leadership, fundraising and extracurricular activities. The students assisted in the development of the outdoor chapel by sanding down and varnishing the interior and exterior wooden features.
They then travelled to De La Salle University in Dasmarinas. The Boys House of Hope was created to help troubled teens fine the right path in life. For many young year 11's this was eye-opening to witness the struggle that teens that are the same age as them go through.
Ela Gregson, a student who went to the Philippines, said 'My favourite part of the trip was visiting the GK Village where we were educated on the mission of creating a large community home for those committing to the work. To secure a house, one family must commit to 2500 hours of work, usually being manual labour'. This brought the group down to earth with overwhelming empathy for the community that surrounded them.
The group of students that participate in both Team India and Team Philippines return from their trips with a heightened sense of purpose and identity within their faith and Lasallian community. Many students revisit the towns and communities they visit.