One of our key aims is to help our students become 'Change Agents' within their communities. For them to do this, we educate them in how to identify need, how to work to address the need, and of the fact that it feels good to do good. Even though around 80% of our students live on less than $1 a day, our students understand that there is always someone worse off, and that it is for all of us to form our community safety net.
Part of this is the Community English Programme, where they have to give their Wednesday afternoons to teach English to children from their local area - but really this is curriculum time, rather than service.
So, we embed service in our Success and Ethics curriculum through service projects in each term:
Term One, Group Service Project: students form teams of around 10 students and identify a common issue within their community that they can address, for example, a community water tank that is in need of repair
Term Two, Individual Service Project: students plan and deliver an individual project to help those less fortunate in their community. Examples of this range from teaching free classes for local poor children, making new signs for the local buses so that the community can read where they are stopping, or raising money to open savings accounts for 10 poor families and running financial literacy training.
Term Three, Group Advocacy Project: students go out to areas affected by key social issues. They prepare awareness-raising leaflets in their I.T.classes and then hold community meetings and knock door-to-door to raise awareness within the community. The aim is to help promote simple solutions, ideas on how to support people, or preventative techniques around issues such as malnutrition, diabetes, alcoholism, domestic violence, the importance of education etc..
For the last two years we have had rigorous monitoring and evaluation systems in place, and the results below reflect the huge impact our students are having on the many tea estate and town communities where they live.