LEAVERS in search of a meaningful way to mark the end of an era at school will travel overseas on Sunday for an adventure in a developing country.
Students selected for an alternative leavers program in Timor-Leste will help refurbish a youth centre in the remote village of Hauba.
Rotary Club of Kalamunda vice president Fiona McFarlance said the two-week stay would provide time to climb a mountain, swim under a waterfall and teach the Timorese villagers how to play Aussie rules.
“The students will live in basic conditions and eat the same meals as Timorese people, which mostly consist of rice, vegetables and a little chicken usually cooked on a fire on the floor of a building,” she said.
“It’s a huge immersion in culture and the students’ debrief in Darwin before returning to Perth is a time of intense reflection, sharing of hopes, dreams and reassessment of values.”
Up to 14 students are selected for the program each year.
“We look for outgoing young people who like to work in a team and help others,” she said.
Rotary Club of Kalamunda provides funding for the community project each year, with each student and their parents contributing $2500 towards the trip.
The alternative leavers program is offered through high schools in the City of Kalamunda and this year’s successful students are from Kalamunda Senior High School, St Brigid’s and Mazenod Colleges.
Leavers interested in the 2018 trip are asked to complete an application form early in the year with student interviews in May.
A camp later in the year gives students time to learn more about Timorese culture, language and history, and also participate in team-building exercises.
Coffee from Timorese villages is sold throughout the year by Rotary Club of Kalamunda and students at the monthly markets in Kalamunda.