Caritas Just Leadership Day – ‘Learning More, Creating Lasting Change’

22 February 2016 | General Interest

(Written by Social Justice Coordinator, Ms Dagmang)

“What sort of world do you want? What talents and skills are needed to make the world better?” Two initial big questions that the student-leaders from 5 different secondary schools tackled when they attended the Caritas Australia Secondary Just Leadership Day at the Cathedral Room in St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Monday 15 February.

Thomas Carr College, together with Parade College Bundoora, St. Monica’s College Epping, Our Lady of Sacred Heart College Bentleigh, and De La Salle College Malvern, looked deeply into the many issues relating to social justice and that preferential option for the poor is the key to creating change. On its 50 years of celebration, Project Compassion focuses on the importance of sharing knowledge through education and training programs.

Megan Bourke, the Caritas Australia facilitator, enlightened all participants about the story behind the Project Compassion awareness campaign posters. She said that the featured pictures captured their best moments not only to promote justice but also to uphold their dignity. To continue the Caritas mission, Megan emphasised two things to make fundraising awareness campaigns at schools effective: good leadership and effective campaign strategies.

In the day’s workshops, the student-leaders engaged in group discussions such as who among the great leaders would they like to invite for dinner and why? They pinpointed the qualities of great leaders that they’d like to emulate. In mixed groups, they analysed and critiqued previous Project Compassion campaign posters in the hope that they could apply these techniques in making effective campaign awareness ads at their respective schools.

In subsidiarity with the communities in Malawi and Uganda, the participants used scrap materials to build tippy-tap, an ingenious way of providing a hand wash after toilet use. This activity was followed with action planning that does not only focus on the fundraising but more importantly the awareness raising action part of it.

The session ended with an inspirational song by Beyoncé ‘I was Here’, which she performed on World Humanitarian Day 2012. It encourages each one to inspire people all over the world to do something good, no matter big or small, for someone else. May this Lent, you use your compassion to create change, here and elsewhere.