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Content Writer at TAFE NSW

They understand that we’re giving our time and efforts to try and help and learn off each other

It’s Philanthropy Week, which celebrates kind deeds and the people who do them. Here are five philanthropic examples of people who have used their TAFE-trained skills to do their bit to change the world.

Troy Everett, TAFE Illawarra teacher

In October 2013, Troy Everett, Head Teacher of Building and Construction, Civil Engineering, Surveying and Mapping at TAFE Illawarra volunteered his time and skills to help with the construction of new toilets in a remote Bangladesh village.

For a week and a half Troy and a small handful of colleagues did back-breaking construction work in drenching humidity. Heavy downpours kept flooding the building site. There were frequent power outages, not to mention language barriers, food poisoning, a Monsoonal cyclone, cold showers and even some massive open air dance parties and light shows. For Troy and his colleagues it was all part of the Bangladeshi experience. And their efforts didn’t go unnoticed. “I can sense the locals’ appreciation of us coming here,” Troy wrote in his journal. “They understand that we’re giving our time and efforts to try and help and learn off each other. They know we’re choosing to be away from our loved ones and all the privileges we’d usually enjoy.”

(You can read more excerpts from Troy’s journal here.)

Cootamundra nursing students, Riverina Institute

A group of 20 nursing students in Cootamundra raised over $4,000 for the Burrumbuttock Hay Runners. Although the fundraising effort was part of the students’ course work where they were assessed on their ability to work together as a team towards a common goal, they threw themselves into it with a passion and dedication that indicated a true level of philanthropy was also at work, driving their efforts.

The students decided that the Burrumbuttock Hay Runners were a worthy cause as they volunteer their services providing hay to drought-stricken farmers and had no other form of funding behind them. The students then organised a wood raffle, scoring five loads of wood donated from various local sources.

Mudgee Skills for Employment and Education (SEE) students, TAFE Western

In June 2015 a group of Skills for Employment and Education (SEE) Program students at Mudgee TAFE raised $6,800 for the region’s homeless at an art auction.

With the help of TAFE Teacher Helen Doble, the group collected more than 60 works from local artists to sell at a special event. These students were themselves no strangers to the experience of homelessness – their own first and second-hand experiences of sleeping rough inspired their desire to launch a campaign to raise awareness of this important issue.

The money raised by the art auction went directly to Mudgee’s Specialist Homeless Service for the purchase of 100 sleeping bags. Some of the funds also assisted with emergency and temporary accommodation.

James Gibbins, Sydney TAFE teacher

In March 2015, ophthalmic optics teacher at Randwick TAFE, James Gibbins, and his son Daniel spent three weeks in some remote villages on Fiji’s northern island of Vanua Levu, donating high quality reading glasses to the locals he thought needed them the most. The glasses were made by Certificate IV in Optical Dispensing students at Randwick TAFE.

Stacey Bachelor, Sydney TAFE student

Known as “the bearded barber”, Stacey studied a seven-week barbering course at Sydney TAFE so that he could give free haircuts and beard trims to homeless men.

This was a far cry from his usual life as a corporate account manager. “I just wanted to give back a little,” he told the ABC last year, when asked about his philanthropic mission. “My mum had been volunteering for years. I have always liked hair and my mates suggested it. I have learnt that the smallest things make a change. The haircut’s one thing, trimming a beard takes you 30 seconds… but they’re cool guys, you know. It’s just sad that people don’t see it that way sometimes. If they did, people would think very differently about the homeless guy in the street.”

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