Projects Abroad

Anti-Poverty Week

Welcome Back !

Week One , Term 4 is Anti-Poverty week :
Poverty and severe hardship affect more than a million Australians.

Around the world, more than a billion people are desperately poor.

In Anti-Poverty Week, YOU can help fight poverty and hardship!

The main aims of Anti-Poverty Week are to:

– Strengthen public understanding of the causes and consequences of poverty and hardship around the world and in Australia; and

– Encourage research, discussion and action to address these problems, including action by individuals, communities, organisations and governments.

Members of Projects Abroad addressed year 8 and 9 assemblies this week to highlight their observations of poverty first hand and will address the whole school in an assembly in the coming weeks.

To raise awareness there we hosted a bake sale on Thursday in the learning hub while images of our Projects Abroad expedition were displayed.





Projects Abroad – The Wirreanda Spirit


How do I describe what it feels like to give selflessly? Jake and I walked to the nearby homes of our placement and distributed food items, the gratitude expressed by the children and families was overwhelming but what was most rewarding was watching the joy experienced by Jake as he brought happiness to those around him . The whole group later discussed how they could assist those nearby families .
Many conversations haIMG_0581.JPGve occurred around what else we can give, what we will do next time, how can we give more – the whole group has united together and want nothing more than to help this community and further extend on the work we have started. We will look into providing Soccer goals and fixing their main oval area hopefully before we depart. The walls of the kindergarten have now been bricked and we started rendering walls today. The vegetable garden was primed with manure , imagine the sensational smell in the bus on the way home 🙂 what is remarkable is that no one complains – the focus of our trip is always what is important.
Later in the afternoon we ventured to the War Museum , our tour guide was Moun Sinath , he has worked for the War Museum for the last 11 years. Being a war veteran, he served the Cambodian army before he got injured by a landmine whereby he lost his right leg. In 1979 Moun Sinath joined the Cambodian army and started fighting against the Khmer Rouge in approximately the Soutr Nikom district, the Svay Leu district and the Banteay Srei district in Siem Reap. Most of his time he stayed at a military base, but he fought nearly every day against the Khmer Rouge. Although Moun Sinath got shot 3 times, approximately in 1982, 1985 and 1987, he retired after losing his right leg due to a landmine in the Svay Leu district in Siem Reap in 1988. The reality of the killing fields was made abundantly real .

The whole visit only reiterated tIMG_0580-2.JPGhe importance of what we are doing here and why it is so important . We ended our placement today being mobbed by students who wanted stickers and they lined the street as our bus left today and the reality we would be leaving these amazing students in less than a week starting to sink in , it will be very emotional to leave .














Projects Abroad – Soccer Program


The Soccer Program is proving to be incredibly popular, students love their sessions and are reluctant to return to class as they enjoy the experience so much . Cara and Dante run a well structured and organised program and break times always feature huge matches with students and staff from Wirreanda and the local school.
Huge thanks to the Reagan Milstein Foundation for their very generous donation that enabled this program to be a success .
The director of the children’s home today thanked us for bringing the program to Siem Reap and was very impressed with the teaching and coaching methods of Cara and Dante . Cara exhibited her vice captain leadership qualities today by speaking to her fellow coach about making it more fun and less competitive, hard to know who he gets this competitive nature from 🙂






Projects Abroad – Week Two


It’s hard to believe we are already half way through our expedition, this is a moment in our lives we will always treasure. Today the teaching team delivered lessons on teeth brushing, Australian Culture and comprehension skills . The construction team worked on laying bricks , making cement from scratch and establishing the area for a vegetable garden. Another day of hard work and beautiful rewards that come from working with these Cambodian children.



















Projects Abroad – lesson planning

Wirreanda Lessons
Write about what you have learnt from the teachers from Australia in the last week-

What did you learn about Australia ?

Draw a map of Australia –

Draw a picture of an Australian Animal –

Teachers to explain what a family is , how families are different .

Write about your family, who is in your family , what are their names ? How old are they ? :-

Draw a Picture of your family :-

Students explore how meaning is communicated through the relationships between language, text, purpose, context and audience. This includes how language and texts are shaped by their purpose, the audiences for whom they are intended and the contexts in which they are created and received.

Projects Abroad – Floating Villages


Today we ventured out to the floating villages ,our Siem Reap guide Ray and our bus driver SolPierre have become part of the Wirreanda Crew and let’s just say they ” are all over it ” when it comes to looking out for us and keeping the laughter going. One of our students overheard a staff member from our accomodation saying ‘ Bless ‘ last night , what can we say , our enthusiasm and love of life is contagious:)
Watching these students interact with the locals, embrace the culture and keep positive has been inspirational. Every parent , family member and person in the Wirreanda community should be nothing but proud of the qualities and behaviors these young people have demonstrated. The reality of the life we take for granted in Australia each day has become evident, many conversations have occurred about how grateful we all are for the life we live each and every day. Students have witnessed first hand young children begging, selling items and having huge responsibility to support their families.
We travelled in a Cambodian boat, enjoying the rare moment of breeze .
These villages run on no electricity and the houses exist 5 meters above water . We later travelled by canoes around the floating villages while many students gave food items to the local children. A tranquil atmosphere engulfed us and we allowed the experience to wash over us. Knowing the hard work that awaits us this week we embraced the tranquility. Tonight we will focus on lesson plans and curriculum for the next week and allow the year 12 students to get some much needed study time .
But not before we acknowledge Carissa turning 18 years old – happy birthday Carissa 🙂















Projects Abroad – Angkor Temples


Another huge day in Siem Reap with a visit to ten Angkor Temples. Angkor Wat was first a Hindu, then subsequently a Buddhist, temple complex in Cambodia and the largest religious monument in the world. The Projects Abroad team endured very hot and humid conditions and many experienced their first ride in a tuk tuk .Angkor is one of the most important archaeological sites in South-East Asia. Stretching over some 400 km2, including forested area, Angkor Archaeological Park contains the magnificent remains of the different capitals of the Khmer Empire, from the 9th to the 15th century. They include the famous Temple of Angkor Wat and, at Angkor Thom, the Bayon Temple with its countless sculptural decorations.
Some students experienced elephant rides and we then headed to the markets for the evening . Our days have been jammed packed and although fatigue and dealing with extreme heat and humidity this group continues to thrive.The bonding with this amazing group continues and each day proves to be an adventures we never anticipated and will long cherish .


















Projects Abroad Day 2

The 5.15 am wake up call I organised to all rooms this morning in Singapore was naturally well received 🙂 Bleary eyed we headed to the foyer to start the next stage in our journey. We started our day by wishing Kaylee a happy birthday with a bus sing a long with genuine well wishes. The objective of our journey to Siem Reap was clear – to provide safe environment for rural community children to receive a well rounded educational experience from our Wirreanda Team at the New Hope for Children Association (NHCP). We will do this by constructing a kindergarten unit for NHCA schools. We will also work on teaching and care activities including English lessons, games, activities , hygiene, songs, a soccer program and general support for local teachers.

Students have now become accustomed to the paperwork and forms of exiting and entering a country – literacy skills have increased in the small period we have been away. Along with knowledge of cultural customs, community awareness, personal responsibility and numeracy skills with currency conversion to name a few . I like to mention each ACARA capability we have covered on our bus trips, let’s just say the Projects Abroad team are ” all over it “.
We arrived in Siem Reap at 9.30 am , it has been full steam ahead ever since . We had lunch at our guest house followed by induction into Cambodian local customs and orientation. Students have had to deal with very humid conditions and are coping very well.
We then headed out to New Hope for Children Association (NHCP) for a brief placement and community visit . It was at this point that the whole group understood our purpose and focus. We met the director of NHCP and saw the mound of rocks that we will spend 2 weeks creating into a kindergarten room. Our captain and vice captain Mel and Cara presented the director with a gift from Wirreanda , and the students explained the significance of the art work created by Azra Rochester . It was on the bus leaving NHCP that the students understood why they were needed in Siem Reap and spoke enthusiastically about the hard work ahead and the impact they would have.

We finished the evening with a dinner at Amazon Angkor and watched a traditional Apsara dancing performance , we are now all in our rooms exhausted , writing blogs and journals and reflecting on an incredible day. A birthday cake for Kaylee just to complete the memorable day .










Cambodia – see you soon :)

Cambodia is fast approaching ! What has been the most overwhelming of this 18 month experience is the selfless generosity and support of our Wirreanda and local community. As we pack bags, organise ourselves for the trip, we are constantly reminded of our core purpose of extending our Wirreanda vision of Wellbeing beyond our school community and giving of oneself selflessly for the greater good.The Wirreanda Projects Abroad expedition started as a grand ideal and through hard work, dedication, determination it has come to realisation. I am incredibly proud to be travelling with this amazing group of people who have united over the last 18 months to make this trip possible . I cannot thank everyone who has supported us enough , even the smallest of gestures has made this trip possible .We are taking approximately 8 suitcases worth of donated goods to Cambodia ranging from sports equipment, dresses , craft items, children’s books and Australian memorabilia ,I am genuinely touched by the generosity of this community and express my sincere gratitude .

Teresa Bruno

Beautiful dresses for the children of Cambodia created by our staff member Leanne Bell.

Beautiful dresses for the children of Cambodia created by our staff member Leanne Bell.

Project Abroads Partners

The Projects Abroad team made contact with Kevin Milstein from the The Reagan Milstein Foundation .

Since its launch in November 2010, RMF has commenced and assisted a number of initiatives and programs to help less fortunate children in Australia, Tonga, Vanuatu, Vietnam and many other countries. These initiatives include:

• Sponsoring talented youngsters;

• Providing football equipment to various less fortunate football associations;

• Developing football programs and matches in conjunction with Football Federation Victoria and various Victorian football clubs to promote social activity through football.

• Recycling donated boots as well as pre-loved and unused uniforms for redistribution to children that cannot afford new boots or uniforms.

Today, RMF raises funds to assist youngsters who may not have an opportunity to play football, with five key interests, namely Indigenous Australian youth, to help in the development of young talented footballers, female football, disability groups and emerging communities in Australia.

While the foundation was created to help those in need, we also hope that the foundation will keep the memory of Reagan alive in the community and allow us to fulfill the expectations he placed on himself to make a difference in the lives of others.

There is no greater honour that we can bestow on the memory of our beautiful Reagan than to help others in his name.

RMF has kindly donated soccer strips , trophies , soccer balls and various other equipment so that our students can run a daily soccer program in Cambodia as part of our Projects Abroad expedition .

We are incredibly grateful to Kevin and the RMF for supporting the Wirreanda Secondary School Projects Abroad trip .