Making a difference in the lives of the Lihir Island Community

Community, Activity, Service (CAS) is at the heart of the IB Diploma Program. It involves students in a range of activities alongside their academic studies throughout the Diploma Program to grow as unique individuals through experiential learning, and to understand they are members of local and global communities with responsibilities towards each other and the environment.

Anna Kubat, Year 11 Queensland Academies Creative Industries (QACI) Student and Year 11 Indooroopilly State High Student, Callum Rutter realised the power of CAS when they jointly made a difference in the lives of others by working in collaboration to assist the Lihir Island community of Papua New Guinea, a community where they were both once raised.  This is Anna’s reflection.

Far away, 4 degrees from the equator sitting in the Pacific Ocean is a small island known as Lihir Island part of Papua New Guinea. An island that possesses one of the largest gold mines in the world but also an island that gave my friend Calum Rutter and I a great environment to grow up in. Ever since our departure we’ve been looking for ways to give back to the community that raised us. Both studying the IB system we found that we were able to do so through the CAS program.

Often we take for granted the opportunities we receive in Australia and the array of resources we have available. Global engagement and understanding these issues are a major part of being successful in any CAS project. Calum initially had the idea of collecting soccer and footy boots, a luxury that the children of Lihir would appreciate, and shipping them to our old primary school on the island, Lihir International Primary School. Once they arrive the boots can be distributed to the students accordingly.

The first stages of the project were boot collection and receiving donations for the projects. We received donations from Indooroopilly and Chapel Hill areas to the QACI community to Samford Valley. We thank everyone who contributed and reached out to us to donate. Overall we received a total of 186 football boots in a range of different sizes. The next stage was the cleaning of the boots, as the rocky theme song played in the background we got through and cleaned 186 pairs of boots and packed them ready for shipping. After some difficulty upon arrival on the island, the 5 shipping boxes made it to Lihir International Primary school.

On Saturday the 14th of October the school held a rugby gala day in order to distribute all the boots to the children of the community. I corresponded with one of my old primary school teachers who attended the day and she said the children were overwhelmed and very thankful for their boots. One of the village boys even began to cry when he found out he could keep the boots. Each child received a pair of boots and the day was spent playing footy. I could not be happier with the results of this project and am grateful for the opportunity to make a difference in the community.

You can view Callum’s reflection here.