STUDENTS and staff from three local high schools have just returned from an overseas trip, where they visited the Australian Ambassador to the Philippines.
Fifty-seven students and teachers from the Swan Christian Education Association (SCEA) visited ambassador Amanda Gorely at her personal residence in Manila as part of their Leavers2Leaders trip.
The students from Ellenbrook Christian College, Swan Christian College and Southern Hills Christian College were warmly welcomed by the ambassador and embassy staff, who briefed them on the 70th anniversary of Australian-Filipino relations, trade between the countries and security issues to be aware of when travelling abroad.
SCEA project manager Giles Creelman said meeting the ambassador was a once-in- a-lifetime experience.
“The students have been working on livelihood projects in remote communities for the last 10 days, living like locals and enjoying cultural festivals in the Visayas island areas of Sagay, Cabacungan and Boracay,” Mr Creelman said.
“This is such a special moment to be recognised for making a positive choice with their Year 12 Leavers break.”
SCEA’s global advocacy program won a competitive grant process funded by the Australian government’s Direct Aid Program in 2015, in which a fish-drying facility was conceptualised and built in the Filipino community of Negros Occidental.
Students visited and worked in the facility during their trip last November.
This year, the students were also advised of how the Government’s Smart Traveller program assisted Australians overseas in case of emergency, such as in the Philippines, where between five and 10 typhoons make landfall each year.
“It’s a pleasure to see young people contributing so strongly to the Australian-Filipino relationship,” ambassador Gorely said.
“We love to host you and we hope this is something we can do again soon,” she added.