Overseas experience a lesson in charity

Monday, 04 November 2013

A federal government grant has opened the door for Challenger Institute of Technology students to share their skills with orphans and school children in India and Cambodia.

Almost $100,000 has been allocated to fund Challenger’s student global mobility programs, giving students the opportunity to assist underprivileged youngsters to improve their academic and employment prospects.

In conjunction with the India Study Abroad Centre, 10 of Challenger Institute’s children’s services students and two lecturers will spend three weeks working at the Shikshan Gram Shelter for Homeless Children and the Modern English School in Malavli, a village 100 kilometres from Mumbai.

Challenger’s students will work with local teachers at the shelter to develop their curriculum and assist children with special needs.

The shelter provides food, accommodation, clothing, medicine and education to more than 100 children aged three to 16, with most of the children being found on railway platforms, rubbish dumps and street corners before being taken in.

In Cambodia, Challenger Institute will work on a number of projects with non-profit organisation, One2One Charitable Trust.

One of these projects will see five health and fitness students and a lecturer team train more than 20 Cambodian teachers in areas such as anatomy, strength training, cardio fitness and children’s nutrition. The Cambodian teachers, who come from a variety of schools, will take their training back to the schools to educate students.

An additional five Challenger IT students and a lecturer will spend three weeks in Cambodia assisting One2One in website security, Microsoft programs and IT networking.

Challenger Institute’s manager of international relations Martin Turnbull said Challenger initiated student mobility programs to give students the opportunity to undertake a study or placement overseas that is related to their qualification.

“We anticipate that students will find their experience possibly life-defining with the potential to influence their future careers,” Mr Turnbull said.

“Students will gain enhanced graduate and employability outcomes as more than 80 per cent of employers believe graduates who undertake an overseas experience return to Australia with enhanced skills that are applicable to the workplace.”

Challenger students that take part in the programs will be chosen via a competitive selection process and will undergo basic language training and support before and during their visit.

The Asia Bound funding will also be used for a student exchange program, which will allow 10 Challenger students to spend two weeks training in their respective areas of study at the Institute of Technical Education in Singapore.

The programs will commence in early 2014.

PHOTO CAPTION: Students from the Modern English School in Malavli, India.

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