During the 2017 March break, three groups of Ridley students embarked on life-changing trips to developing countries around the world. At Ridley, emphasis is placed on global mindedness and service (It’s in our motto: Terar Dum Prosim), so it is no surprise that so many Tigers were willing to dedicate their holidays to bettering the lives of the less fortunate in distant communities. One group travelled for 24-hours before arriving in Malawi, Grade 7-10 students ventured to Guatemala, and the final group made its way to El Salvador for two weeks of dedicated work with Habitat for Humanity.
Malawi Service Trip – Jacaranda School
Headmaster, Ed Kidd, Mrs. Hanna Kidd and Mr. Rob Burke were among the 21 Ridleians who made the long journey to Malawi, where they would spend the break working with the Jacaranda School for Orphans. Ridley’s connection to the Jacaranda School started in October 2016, when founder, Marie Da Silva visited our campus to educate students on her mission in Malawi.
During the inaugural trip to Malawi, our students helped renovate the orphanage. While there, they also bonded with the talented students of Jacaranda School; through music lessons and theatrical performances. One of the many highlights of the trip was presenting 50 feminine hygiene kits to the girls. Our Days for Girls group worked tirelessly to prepare the hand-sewn packages before the leaving at the beginning of March. It was a heartwarming moment for all present.
Guatemala Service Trip – The Doppenbergs in Guatemala
Nearly 14,066 kilometers away, 17 students and their chaperones, Mr. Paul O’Rourke and Mrs. Kim O’Rourke, embarked upon the third-annual Guatemala service trip, to volunteer with The Doppenbergs in Guatemala (The DIG). This organization helps build local schools, provides water and nutrition solutions to traditional Mayan villages, and most recently, developed the Centre of Hope, the area’s only centre for special needs children.
Each year, our Middle Years Programme (MYP) students spend 10 days in Guatemala, working on the Centre of Hope in El Progreso. During the first trip in 2015, our Ridleians broke ground on the Moran Primary School, and this year, they were a part of the final touches. Beyond the work our students put in, they also fortified relationships with the Doppenbergs and community members through bonding activities, cultural experiences and discussions about sustainability and the community. Our students even participated in a water walk, which replicates the daily hike that local patrons must complete to obtain fresh water for the village.
Nearing the end of the journey, students received a special visit from alumna, Gaby Florido de Luna ’99, which created an even more personal experience for each student.
“The MYP Service Trip to Guatemala was once again a great success. In equal measure, the group worked hard, enjoyed new experiences, and further developed the relationship between Ridley College and DIG… In every respect, the 2017 group members were terrific ambassadors of the school and were positive examples of service in action.” – Paul O’Rourke, MYP Coordinator
El Salvador Service Trip – Habitat for Humanity
Not too far away, a group of 14 Upper School students and chaperones participate in a Habitat for Humanity build in El Salvador. This long-standing relationship with the organization has provided students with the opportunity to make a difference in countries such as India, Cambodia and of course, El Salvador.
This year, the two-week trip allowed students to experience this Central American country, while making a difference for the people in the community. Aside from their hard-work and dedication, the students climbed the highest mountain in El Salvador, Volcan de Santa Ana, visited El Carmin Coffee Plantation, saw the Mayan Ruins of San Andres and explored the national cathedral of El Salvador. Upon their safe return to the Toronto airport, the students were exhausted but enlightened by this trip of a lifetime.
“The Tigers had an excellent and fulfilling trip to El Salvador. The Tigers worked hard under the rain, wind and heat to make a difference in the province of Sonsonate. This mission was putting our school motto from words into action.” – Gerardo Martinez, Department of Classical and International Languages
Equipped with new knowledge, memorable stories and an increased understanding of the world, our students arrived safety back home, ready to begin another term and proud of how they transformed our globe.