After two weeks of teaching, trekking and close encounters with wild animals a group of schoolies have returned home with a changed perspective of what life is like across the globe.
The team of 13 students from Orange High School, James Sheahan Catholic High School, Kinross Wolaroi School and Blayney High School traded in the usual schoolies trip last year to head to Nepal.
To see how people with so little have such happiness has made me want to give back and have that joy in my lifeLachlan Fenemor
Lead by Rotary Club of Orange Daybreak Rotarians Michelle Duncan and Wayne Stephens, all 13 graduates spent five days volunteering at a school in Chitwan, with six students staying on to volunteer at a remote school in Maidi Village.
During the schoolies’ stay in Chitwan, the group continued an ongoing project started by previous schoolies groups to paint the building, assisted in the classroom and spoke English with the preschool to year 12 students.
Accompanying the group on the trip, Mrs Duncan said part of the work was just interacting and playing with the young children.
She said the students who travelled to Maidi to distribute resources collected by Vinnies volunteers in Orange were taken aback by the poverty.
“At Chitwan the students spoke English really well where’s the standard at Maidi was a lot lower, which was a real eye-opener for the kids," she said.
The group had a bag of resources to distribute in Maidi which included books, stationary, blankets, beanies and teachers’ aids.
Orange High School graduate Lachlan Fenemor said the trip has had such a huge impact, he’s now looking at spending nine months volunteering in Nepal, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.
He said the highlight for him was seeing how appreciative the Nepalese people were and having the chance to help people who really needed it.
“It’s opened my eyes to the conditions that some people live in. To see how people with so little have such happiness has made me want to give back and have that joy in my life,” he said.
It wasn’t all work for the schoolies group, the young volunteers took time off teaching duties to go paragliding, white-water rafting, trekking and on safari.
Chloe Smith took part in the trip for the second year, this time in a mentor capacity.
She said it taught her to be grateful for all we have in Australia.
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