Who really matters anyway?
Tintern has had a long and storied history of student-led social justice activities and commitment, but what does “social justice” really mean? I imagine there are a range of views about what this means, but in my view, it could be encapsulated in the following graphic:
Not everyone has the same ability to affect their own circumstances, and from my first day at Tintern I was struck by our young men’s and women’s ability to see this as it affected other young people, whether at Tintern, in Australia, or internationally.
At our Spring Celebration this year, our Young Farmers group decided that all funds raised from sales of cakes, etc. to the 300 or so attendees, would be donated to the “Buy a Bale” cause to help farmers in NSW and QLD who have been so terribly affected by the drought. While many of this group are city children, their ability to see the world through the eyes of others is amazing, as was their commitment to this cause. On the day, our Tintern community supported their passion and energy from their pockets and so they truly made a difference. For me, this was yet another example of our students’ ability to recognise that so many people are less fortunate than themselves.
Our Tintern Social Justice group has provided support for the Sunflower Foundation for many years, supporting education for young women in developing counties – an admirable cause and one they were impressively committed to. This year, however, the Social Justice group decided to re-focus their support and direct it towards education of remote indigenous students. As a result, and initially for 2018, Anglicare have provided us with the support network to do this, and we are very grateful to them. At the “Comedy for a Cause” evening earlier this year, the $4000+ raised has been committed to schools and school programs in Anglican indigenous communities in northern Australia.
This is also a very admirable project, with progress already made being easy to admire (and I certainly do) but our Social Justice group see this as only an intermediate stage, and want to establish a permanent relationship with an Anglican indigenous community in Central or Northern Australia. We are currently seeking a partner for this (and the group are putting plenty of pressure on me through their convenor, Ms Jeanette Kropp!) and we hope to have this relationship established ahead of our next major Social Justice group event. Beyond that, plans are afoot for it to lead to a visiting program that will enable our young women and men to experience a life very different to their own and to provide personal and tangible service to a community that would truly understand the impact of that service.
Both of these initiatives truly exemplify our motto – factis non verbis!