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14

the ruyton reporter

There are 66 million girls

around the world not in

school, simply because they

are born female. For the girls

at Ruyton, who were born

privileged enough to be able

take education for granted,

this figure is difficult to

comprehend. Nevertheless,

last year the Senior School

students’ eyes were opened

when they took part in the

‘Do It in a Dress’ campaign.

The One Girl Foundation encourages anyone to

‘wear a dress, raise $300 and

educate a girl.’

The organisation asserts that the reason why some countries are

in such dire circumstances, and the female population is so profoundly

repressed, is because of the lack of education for girls. For example, in Sierra

Leone, only one in six girls attends high school. When a girl does not receive an

education, she is entirely dependent on the males in her family, who, in many

cases, are often unable to make the money necessary to care for her. Once a girl

is educated, she can be employed, better understand her situation and

contribute to her family’s financial wellbeing.

As the girls at Ruyton wear a school dress almost every day, it was thought that,

more appropriately, the staff should wear uniforms instead. On a Community

Awareness day last year, when the students of Ruyton were decked out in their

stylish casual clothes, 13 staff members, including Mr Harrison, Mr Saunder and

Mr Gundlach, buttoned up their choice of school dress to raise both money and

awareness of the plight of women’s education. Ruyton girls supported their

teachers by lending their School dresses and making monetary donations. In this

way girls felt that they had made a difference in the fight towards a more just

and equal world, where every child, male or female, is able to receive an

education and is empowered to choose their own pathway rather than their

gender choosing it for them.

Zoe Fitzgibbon,

Community Service Captain

Teachers Across Borders

Senior School Science teacher and Sustainability Co-ordinator Ms Nicole

Volkmann volunteered with Teachers Across Borders in January to teach Khmer

teachers in Cambodia. This work significantly improves the lives of many people

by teaching the teachers, who then teach the children. Nicole funded her own

trip and had to fundraise to cover the costs of the workshop. Each workshop

attracted between 250-300 teachers. Each donation of $30 allowed one Khmer

teacher to attend a workshop. Some of those attending work in village schools

with no electricity, others teach 13 different classes, each with 50+ students.

This is a huge contrast to what we enjoy in Australia. It was a humbling

experience. As Nicole said,

‘It’s very challenging to make connections through

a translator, as small talk and humour is lost, but at the same time, it is incredible

how much we convey through smiles and body language … Their [the teachers’]

enthusiasm has been inspiring and I feel proud to have been able to share some

of my teaching methodology and ideas. These teachers are Cambodia’s future.’

You can make a difference. So make a difference.

For further information please go to

http://teachersacrossborders.org.au/home

The Community Service

Programme at Ruyton

The Community Service Programme at Ruyton fosters a sense of personal and social

responsibility, promoting the importance of empathy and generosity. It encourages

students to take on new challenges, to collaborate, to plan and initiate activities, to

consider ethical implications, to develop new skills and to engage with issues of global

importance. Each Year Level in the Senior School is associated with an organisation

(listed below) and students work with commitment and perseverance to offer support

in a variety of ways to their specific charity.

Year 7: Knit a Square

Year 8: Cottage by the Sea and Hope for Cambodian Children

Year 9: FareShare

Year 10: Andale and Bulleen Heights School

Year 11: Girls at the Centre

Year 12: ChildFund Australia

Community Service allows those participating to reflect on the difference they are

making in society and to see life from an alternative perspective. Students gain a

greater understanding of their roles in the community, as well as the impact of their

contributions towards those in need of service. Ultimately, it results in a more clearly

defined sense of self and purpose.

FareShare – Year 9

Every year, two million Australians will experience hunger; however, over the same

period, we will also waste 200kg of food for every man, woman and child in the

nation. FareShare, Australia’s largest charity kitchen, is an innovative, energetic

organisation, rescuing food and fighting hunger. Since 2001 they have given away

healthy, nutritious meals to the hungry and the homeless in Victoria, using food

donated by businesses. They are a not-for-profit community organisation operating on

a modest budget, due to the generosity of philanthropic foundations, businesses and

private donors. With the help of 600 volunteers, FareShare cooks this food into 20,000

free nutritious meals for Victorian charities each week. By ‘rescuing’ food, they prevent

it from going to landfill and so they reduce methane emissions and the demand for

new food products. The FareShare Schools in the Kitchen programme provides a

unique opportunity for our Year 9 students to learn about the reality of hunger in our

community. Under the guidance of FareShare’s chef, our students used ingredients

that had been salvaged by FareShare to cook a commercial volume of meals. At the

end of the activity their meals were ready for distribution to schools with children

from disadvantaged backgrounds and to community food programmes run by St

Vincent de Paul, local church groups and women’s shelters. I was astounded by the

number of girls who said they felt a sense of accomplishment and personal fulfilment

after their cooking session at FareShare.

Andale and Bulleen Heights School – Year 10

The children from Andale and Bulleen Heights Schools were once again delighted to

visit Ruyton for their annual Christmas party, where, alongside their Year 10 mentors,

they participated in a series of games and dance routines organised by each of the

Year 10 Form groups. This was followed by a picnic lunch cooked by Ruyton teachers

and students, which strengthened the relationship we have with these schools. This

event facilitated the development of Ruyton students’ skills in communicating with

children with learning and language disorders, Autism Spectrum Disorder and children

with difficulties with fine or gross motor skills and visual perception.

Ms Maria Di Vitto,

Community Service Co-ordinator

‘Do It in a Dress’

Making a Difference