ACU Engagement update – 22 August
This week is all about getting involved! You can pack food for the hungry, support education for migrant and refugee children on the Thai-Burma border or donate clothing to empower people to achieve economic independence.
Donate to Success
Following the huge success of ACU’s 2017 clothing drive in support of the Dress for Success and Wear for Success programs, we are collecting donations again this year.
These important programs strive to empower disadvantaged women and men to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and the development tools to help thrive in work and life.
From 20- 31 August we will be collecting donations of:
- smart casual clothing suitable for work or job interviews
- suits, shirts, dresses, pants, skirts
- for men or women.
- well maintained and clean, without rips, tears or fading
- all sizes needed (plus sizes particularly desirable).
Good condition handbags, shoes, belts and accessories.
New, unopened toiletries and makeup, including deodorant.
Thought for food and food for thought: Office of the Vice-Chancellor and President Community Day
Hunger is one of Australia’s least talked about social issues, yet more than one in five children in Australia have experienced food insecurity in the last year. It is also very concerning that children are more likely to experience food insecurity than adults. One in three parents living in food insecure households in Australia say that their children do not have enough food at least once a month because they cannot afford to purchase enough food.
Parents in these circumstances are doing what they can – 26 per cent say that they skip a meal so their children can eat, while 29 per cent say that they go a whole day without eating at all.1 In late July, the SBS published an article that argued that hunger is ‘the hidden problem facing middle income families too’.2 The article summarised findings from the Queensland University of Technology last year.
On Friday 3 August, the Office of the Vice-Chancellor and President (OVCP) travelled into Sydney’s western suburbs to participate in a community engagement staff opportunity at Foodbank NSW and ACT. They were accompanied by Miranda Bush, Community Engagement Officer - ACU Engagement.
Foodbank is a non-denominational and non-profit organisation that is committed to hunger relief. They act as a channel between the food industry’s surplus food and the welfare sector’s need. Together with other volunteers, the OVCP team packaged an enormous 1347 kg of oranges, 2415 kg of apples, 750 kg of mandarins and 2436 kg of potatoes that were made immediately available to Foodbank’s network of community based non-profit partner organisations that serve individuals and families in need. Well done team!
Sheyana La Brooy, Senior Communications and Administration Officer in the OVCP, said this about her experience:
“It was rewarding to think that the food we packed could be reaching hungry mouths within the week! What was most impressive was to see that Foodbank is a well-managed, innovative and efficiently-run organisation meeting a real and immediate need in the community. The smallest of details have been addressed to ensure nothing goes to waste. This experience also provided a valuable opportunity to work with colleagues and interact with like-minded individuals from other institutions. Whilst our work was but a small part of the operations of Foodbank, it is a collection of such small parts working together that makes the whole operation run successfully. Many hands make light work and it is clear that this coming together of individuals is key to the success of Foodbank in feeding the hungry.”
Office of the Vice-Chancellor and President staff volunteering at Foodbank.
Foodbank operate with a staff of approximately 100 employees and over 3000 volunteers. Foodbank was first established in 1992 in NSW and now has a presence in every state and the Northern Territory, with distribution centres in all state capitals as well as a number of regional centres. In NSW, they distribute approximately 200,000 kg of food each week and rely solely on volunteers to do this.
Volunteers are vital to Foodbank’s operational efficiency in closing the food insecurity gap. If this article has given you food for thought and you or your team is interested in participating in a team community engagement opportunity at Foodbank, please contact the ACU Engagement team: email@example.com
1. ‘Foodbank Rumbling Tummies Infographic 2018’, available at: https://www.foodbank.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Rumbling-Tummies-Infographic-2018.pdf
2. See https://www.sbs.com.au/food/health/article/2018/07/24/hunger-its-hidden-problem-facing-middle-income-families-too
ACU and the Marist Asia Foundation are changing lives in one of the world’s most challenging political situations
In the second week of August, ACU had the pleasure of hosting Fr Frank Bird, Director of the Marist Asia Foundation in Thailand, in both North Sydney and Brisbane.
The Marist Asia Foundation has been a partner of ACU for 10 years through the ACU Thai-Burma Refugee Education Program at the program’s Ranong Campus in Thailand. Ranong is a southern-border crossing town into neighboring Myanmar. The Program also operates in Mae Sot, a northern-border crossing town.
Currently there are 450,000 internally displaced people on the Thai-Myanmar border, many of whom are stateless. The ACU Thai-Burma Program provides free tertiary education to Myanmar refugees and migrants on the border who have fled persecution and traumatic conditions due to the civil war that has wreaked havoc in the region. The civil war is the longest in history and has had a disastrous effect on the educational opportunities available in the area. In Mae Sot, students cannot complete a secondary education in the refugee camps. In Ranong, only 10 per cent of children receive an education beyond age 12 and those that do, find it very difficult to get recognition for their learning as their educational providers lack certification. This leaves young people on the border with very limited possibilities to seek careers outside of what Fr Frank calls ‘3D jobs’ – jobs that are difficult, dirty and dangerous.
The ACU Thai-Burma Program is responding in a very direct way to these statistics. With 197 graduates to date, it is a truly life-changing opportunity. Many of the students who complete the program go onto to win scholarships at prestigious regional and international universities – an aspiration that could not have been conceived of prior to ACU’s teaching in the area. Many others go onto assume socially-minded jobs in their local communities as teachers, translators and through roles within NGOs.
Please watch this video to see how the Thai-Burma Program is at the heart of ACU’s Mission. We do our best to stand up for people in need and for causes that matter, and we believe in education with a bigger purpose:
The ACU Thai-Burma Program is an initiative of the Faculty of Education and Arts, and led by Dr Duncan Cook from the National School of Arts. The National School of Arts, along with ACU Engagement and Campus Ministry, was delighted to host Fr Frank.
Fr Frank delivered a moving public seminar at the McAuley at Banyo Campus in Brisbane, which gave staff the opportunity to hear his first-hand experiences as a tutor of the program in Ranong and direct impact it has in students’ lives. They also heard about the unprecedented and invaluable work that the Marist Asia Foundation is doing to grow educational opportunities for students in Ranong, from pre-school age right through to their completion of the ACU Diploma of Liberal Studies.
Father Frank Bird.
Associate Vice-Chancellor (Queensland) Professor Jim Nyland, said this about the talk:
“I must say I am more and more convinced that Fr Frank’s concept of community transformation through education based on self-activity and self-management and self-entrepreneurialism with a communal and social purpose is the thing worth struggling for. ACU’s Thai-Burma Refugee Education Program, in partnership with the Marist Asia Foundation, run from the Brisbane Campus, is a truly great example of such transformative education.”
In Sydney, Fr Frank delivered a similar presentation to key ACU stakeholders, including the Pro Vice-Chancellor, International, the Pro Vice-Chancellor, Engagement, the National Head of the School of Arts and staff from the Sponsorship and Advancement team. Following these meetings, ACU Engagement has been exploring student and staff community engagement opportunities in the ACU Thai-Burma Program and the Marist Asia Foundation.
Partnerships with York University (Canada) and Palms Australia have also been instrumental in the delivery of the ACU Thai-Burma Program. But you can help too. The ACU Thai-Burma Program faces challenges, including delivering education to students without adequate infrastructure, interruptions to study due to political volatility and natural disasters, and, of course, funding. ACU offers a Staff Giving program, through which continuing and fixed-term staff can choose between one-off or regular donations and all other staff can choose to make a one-off donation.
The University will match your gift dollar for dollar. For more information, please visit the ACU Staff Giving Program webpage.
To learn more about the ACU Thai-Burma program, please visit the program webpage or contact Dr Duncan Cook, Academic Lead of the Thai-Burma Program at: Duncan.Cook@acu.edu.au
Community engagement opportunities for staff
ACU Engagement is committed to ensuring that all ACU staff and students have the opportunity to make a contribution to their community that is feasible and meaningful to them, whilst meeting community needs in a way that is valuable and respectful. For a full list of community engagement opportunities for staff you can visit our Workplace group. Be sure to become a member to stay up to date with future opportunities.
For more information, to register your interest for an opportunity, or if you are aware of more opportunities you think we should know about, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact: Josh Beard
Page last updated: 2018-08-22
Short url: https://staff.acu.edu.au/1694004