Hero photograph
Photo by Andrew Constable

Inspired to make a change

Daniel Rickman —

Chapel and service prefect, Daniel Rickman, attended World Vision's Scholarship Week in January. The week aimed to expose young people to the new and evolving challenges that face the world today, and inspire them to take action in thier own communities. Daniel wrote about his experience for Informer:

On 14 January 2019, I had the opportunity to go on World Vision’s Senior Scholarship Week, which lasted until 17 January. Throughout my life, I don't believe I have had an experience which has changed and inspired me more than this week, or more accurately these few days.

The week started off by meeting the other students from across New Zealand, including from Dio and Hillcrest from Hamilton. It was incredible to hear and debate each other’s views, as well as inspire each other to come up with our own ideas, as a group of young New Zealanders, on how we can incorporate the work of World Vision and the 40 Hour Famine into our individual schools for 2019. After the meet and greet, we had a tour around World Vision’s headquarters and learnt about each person's role in World Vision. In addition, on the first day, we had the opportunity to attend a Powhiri and spend the night at a local Marae. Here we got told about the problems in New Zealand, specifically about the rift in Maori and Pakeha relationships, as well as the poverty, which is going on in New Zealand. This was something I felt quite passionately about and I believe St Paul’s is addressing these problems, especially with our community service initiatives.

Throughout the second day of the week, we had multiple speakers come in and teach us some important lessons, mainly regarding the work of World Vision, as well as what's happening in South Sudan and other countries which need relief, and how World Vision and the New Zealand Government is helping the people in these countries. I think most the students on the trip would agree that this day was the most shocking and harrowing of them all, as we had two first-hand accounts of what was happening to refugees. One was from a 19-year-old Kiwi who had just recently been working in the refugee camps of South Sudan and had seen the victims of the war and heard the refugees’ stories of death and terror. We also were able to listen to an Ethiopian refugees’ first-hand account of how he got into New Zealand, which was filled with hardship and loss. We also learnt about the stereotyping of refugees as well as the origins of the 40 Hour Famine; how it all started, as well as what the Famine has become.

After a tough second day, the third day started with a long debrief to share any thoughts or ideas. After this, we listened to another range of speakers, who spoke on a more positive note. Rather than telling us all of the problems, they worked with us to come up with solutions and inspired us rather than discourage. We learnt about our roles as schools to promote the 40 Hour Famine and how we can contribute to the work of World Vision. We also had World Vision’s marketing team come and speak to us about how to build a campaign, specifically the 40 Hour Famine. To add to this, we were put in groups and did a range of problem solving activities within such groups. Finally, we were taught about the responsibility we have for our own world and the system of injustice, which gave us better insight into what the work of World Vision is doing to improve the world.

The final day was a day of reflections and sad goodbyes. In the morning, we had one last speaker go over all the key things we had learnt as well as leave us with some inspirational messages. After this, it was a sad goodbye to a great new group of friends, as well as aspiring young Kiwis.

From this trip I have taken away a few key things I would really like to bring back to St Paul's for our 40 Hour Famine.

I would like people to understand that Famine is more than just a fun thing to do with your mates; it is something dedicated to helping people in dire situations. Yes, at one level it is a fun event, but on another level, it is sacrificing something for people in a war zone or a refugee centre.

I would also like to cooperate with Waikato Dio and keep in contact with other schools around New Zealand in order to make our Famine the best one yet.

I aim for us to raise at least $10,000 as a school for World Vision through the Famine as well as plan 40 hours of service related activities, which would be beneficial to our “Over the Fence” communities.

Finally, I would just like to say a huge thank you for allowing me to take part in the scholarship week, and I hope it is something that St Paul's can be a part of for the future.