Kiribati Pacific Partnership and Immersion Experience
As part of our focus on putting our faith into action and encouraging our students to build a positive, just and inclusive world, St Leo’s offers life-changing immersion experiences including our ongoing Pacific Partnership Program with the island nation of Kiribati.
The Republic of Kiribati (pronounced ‘Kiribass’) consists of a chain of islands in Micronesia in the central Pacific Ocean. Kiribati’s atolls cover 811 square kilometres distributed over 3.5 million square kilometres of ocean – approximately the size of Western Australia and South Australia combined.
Kiribati has a population estimated at 110,000 and is one of the world’s poorest countries. It has limited natural resources, and with most of its atolls less than two metres above sea level, it is extremely vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and is already confronting major challenges due to rising sea levels. Former President of Kiribati, Anote Tong has become a leading international advocate for ocean conservation and climate change and regularly speaks in Australia and around the world (see interview by Channel 10’s ‘The Project‘).
The Pacific Partnership Program
St Leo’s has developed the Pacific Partnership Program with sister school, The Sacred Heart College, Tarawa, over a number of years, developing a close relationship and mutually beneficial cultural exchange program through sharing our experiences and understanding.
For St Leo’s students, the program lets them experience life from a new perspective by exposing them to a different culture, develop resilience, leadership skills and an understanding of social justice in our region and within a global context. Above all, the program puts our faith into action to demonstrate how we can make a difference as individuals and as a College community.
Our 2019 Kiribati Immersion will see four dedicated staff and 12 intrepid students travel to Kiribati for 10 days at the end of July, taking with them as many much-needed supplies as possible, thanks to months of fundraising and generous donations from the St Leo’s community.
As well as cultural and historical experiences and working bees, the students spend time with buddies from The Sacred Heart College and the School for Students with Special Needs, visit the local hospital and women’s shelter to assist and donate educational and other supplies wherever they can.
Each year, our students return saying the experience has been ‘truly life-changing’. The following video gives an overview of last year’s Kiribati immersion experience.
BLOG – Follow the Kiribati Crew!
Our intrepid 2019 Kiribati crew departed on Sunday, 14 July 2019 – first stop Fiji, then on to Kiribati. Every spare corner of each suitcase and hand luggage item was filled with the many generous donations and items purchased from the group’s fundraising efforts – over $1000 worth of excess baggage which they saw as well worth the benefit it will bring to the people of Kiribati. Thank you to everyone who donated and who supported the many fundraising activities this year.
You can follow the group’s adventures on their Kiribati 2019 BLOG, or by clicking on the linked image below:
Koroba (thank you)